Government and business collaboration: Enhancing trust and transparency amid vaccine distribution

In times of uncertainty, how can the private and public sectors work together to develop advanced technology capabilities that can make an impact on the future?

By | 4 minute read | May 28, 2021

Masked people walking in public

In times of uncertainty, how can the private and public sectors work together to develop technology capabilities to potentially help make an impact on the future?

Even before the pandemic hit, the public health system was stressed to the max. The pandemic has exacerbated issues, such as health disparities and mistrust. The disruption has revealed the need for stronger collaboration between business and government. Now, more than ever, the two must come together to help build stronger and healthier communities.

In the Fortune article, “It’s time to make public health a priority for business1,” subject matter experts from private and public sectors discuss what needs to occur for this partnership to make a positive impact.

  • First, businesses need to build and strengthen partnerships with local public health organizations. To amplify its importance, businesses can rely on trusted public health messaging, while health leaders can rely on business marketing and IT expertise. This results in strategic and consistent messaging for communities.
  • Second, the article suggests long-term solutions should be implemented, not just stopgap programs. What are businesses doing to encourage and drive sustainable solutions and transformational change in communities? The answer to this question could help communities achieve change, and potentially strengthen society’s wellness and long-term economic resilience. In applying these programs, we must not just recover from the pandemic, but strive to address racial and health inequities that have contributed to where our society is today.
  • Third, there needs to be more support of modernizing the public health system. Public health is about taking care of our population – tracking emerging threats, monitoring at-risk populations, preventing disease, and promoting wellness within communities. America’s public health infrastructure needs immediate attention. An efficient public health infrastructure could potentially make lasting changes for the communities in which we live through healthier communities, lower health care costs, reducing disability payments and absenteeism, and empowering a more productive and adaptable workforce.

Public-private partnership use case: Vaccine distribution and verification

As of April 2021, 2.4% of the world’s population have received the full-dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving a large majority of the population still unvaccinated2.

Many consumers still have unanswered questions and want to know they can trust the technology, data and science behind the vaccine.

How IBM can help your organization create a visible and accountable vaccine management plan

As the vaccine continues to be distributed, the public and private sectors are determining what they can do together to accomplish a transparent vaccine rollout and further management of these potential situations – and work to fix issues that were exposed due to the pandemic.

“One of the issues that is coming to the fore[front] is around data and technology and trust and transparency,” said William Kassler, MD, former Deputy Chief Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer at IBM Watson Health. “People are hesitant to get the vaccine despite the good science and data behind the vaccine, and they have distrust.”

“We – businesses and the government – need to figure out together to enhance trust and transparency through our messaging, the data, how the data will be used and for what purpose, how we can secure that data and information, and how we can make it less likely to be a tool used against us,” continues Dr. Kassler.

How can this happen?

Data, technology, trust and transparency, stresses Dr. Kassler, are most important as this collaboration works to plan a strategy for the future.

This collaboration should ensure that consumers have trust:

  • In the collection of data
  • That the data moves between users only
  • That data is secure throughout its journey

“There is technology that can support the trust that is needed and to back the verification of vaccines,” said Dr. Kassler. “Technology – like advanced analytics such as AI – can help decision makers.”

Learn how Digital Health Pass can help with the “last mile” of vaccine distribution

“From a practical point, given the surge on AI-based chat bots that have been used by health systems and public health systems, predictive analytics can find patterns from good data and help count cases – to help track and trace where cases are going,” he continues.

Dr. Kassler also stresses that a national, digital vaccine credentialing system would better allow people and businesses to verify vaccinations in a trusting and transparent way.

“Everyone has to feel the system is working equally and that the system is fair in order to trust the system,” said Dr. Kassler.

Through advanced technology, private and public sectors have an opportunity to develop capabilities and put them in action.

“Now we are able to recognize that the human side of the technology interface is something that we have to address in a way that’s meaningful and impactful and that can be leveled with great success,” said Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH, Chief of Programs and Services for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

As a society, consumers need to be put first – especially in times of need, and that there is a strong need for humanity in technology, and a need for public and private sectors to work together to put consumers first and give them the answers they need – and deserve.