July 22, 2021

How We Used Salesforce to Collect, Track, and Manage COVID-19 Vaccine Records

For the Safety of our Company and Community

As Bitwise Industries began planning the steps to safely return our humans to work in our physical buildings, it was made clear that we needed to take extra precautions that would not only protect our employees, but our community at large. In order to track the vaccination cards, our Salesforce administrators had to implement and manage a custom Salesforce solution to make sure the data was collected easily and stored securely. Here’s how we went about building our custom solution.

Salesforce Solutions in Every Division of our Org

Our internal Salesforce admin team has built many Salesforce applications for different departments throughout our company. For example, the team that manages our classes here at Bitwise Industries wanted a method to track each student’s journey as they embark on their career in the technology field. We were able to accomplish this through Salesforce by creating a user-friendly app with this capability. We’ve also built solutions to help our Real Estate division store tenant leasing information and helped our IT division establish automation to keep track of IT cases. We’ve worked on many successful projects, but our personal favorite is the COVID-19 vaccine tracking project for our HR team. The build from this project has been very useful for our company to get employees safely back to work in our buildings.

Tailoring the Workflows to HR Specs

Our team met with staff from the HR department to discuss possible methods for tracking the vaccine status of each team member. Due to the sensitive nature of this data, the HR department was primarily concerned with ensuring that this information was collected privately and securely. We gathered the necessary information we needed from HR and went to our internal architect team to discuss how to accomplish this task. We decided our solution would include automation and a few objects:

  • Standard contact object: Where every Bitwise employee would have a contact record to track their vaccine status
  • A custom object called HR FOLDER: Where the vaccine card images were uploaded and stored securely and privately
  • Email automation: This would pull the Contact ID and store the employee information
  • Two flows: This would automate the collection process 
  • Experience builder: This would eliminate the need to use any custom development for the build
  • Shield: A third-party platform that encrypts files

Going with the Flow

The biggest piece to the vaccine build was the flow. The first was an auto-launch flow to create a new record on the HR folder object record based on record updates in the contact object. The second is a screen flow to collect the required information and vaccination cards. This helped us determine when and which vaccines our employees received. We were also able to move attachments from the contact object to HR folders through flow. 

The flow was launched by using a digital experience build. However, a known limitation of the digital experience required the user to be logged in with a license. A simple solution presented itself by sending it out through a classic email template so the link could be used without any license as if the user were a guest user. This simplified a lot of the work and also meant that we could send a single classic email template to all of our employees. 

Managing the Unexpected

With every project, things come up unexpectedly! One of the unknowns we encountered while working on this build happened after most of the automation was planned out. The ask was to collect copies of vaccination cards, so we had our two categories: ‘Vaccinated’ and ‘Opted Out of Vaccination’. We also thought wait a minute, what if someone just got their first dose of a two-dose treatment? They would have to ignore the email until they received their second dose. This question would make things a little more chaotic to keep track of while troubleshooting the rollout, so we added the ‘Partially Vaccinated’ option. 

This new option had its own variables, like when did you get your first dose and when do you expect to get your second dose? We then had to change the automation to account for this adjustment; luckily, while in the process of changing the automation, we realized there were people who planned on getting the vaccine but didn’t have anything scheduled just yet. 

Figuring out how to accurately account for this without cumbersome follow-up emails was tricky. After some team brainstorming, we decided the best way forward would be to collect the actual date they expected to be fully vaccinated; create a timestamp for every scenario.

Testing and Testing Again

The best strategy in every build is to test, test again, and try to break it. So, after we were confident enough with the build, we gave HR access to a sandbox and asked them to try and break the application. This was greatly needed because it provided a case study on how actual users would interact with the community page. 

With the help of the HR team, we immediately identified the issue of people communicating they were vaccinated without having uploaded a copy of their vaccination card. After plugging the holes with a few validation rules, we were good to go for another round of testing, testing again, and new attempts to break it. The next adjustment we needed to make was when someone entered an expected vaccination date originally, then got vaccinated earlier than accounted for in Salesforce. We decided to clear that data once the record was set to fully vaccinated in order to nip any similar issues in the bud.

Nearing Success!

Being flexible is essential to being a Salesforce administrator. On the day of the launch of the vaccination email that would contain our Experience Builder page, we were asked to change the email template to include a Spanish-language version as well. 

After handling the challenges in email formatting for a couple of minutes, we were able to finalize it just in time for the launch—and to our relief it worked! The HR team sent out the email successfully in English and in Spanish … and by the prescribed deadline.

We Did It and You Can Too

With the objects and automation used in the build, we were able to provide Bitwise with a private and secure environment to fulfill their needs with this monumental ask of collecting all vaccination data. Salesforce made it easy for the HR department to keep track of all vaccination statuses. 

Does Your Org Need Help with Vaccination Tracking?

At Bitwise Industries, we use a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions and enhance your Salesforce systems. If you’re preparing to return to work and need help implementing a system to help you track your vaccination records or aid in contact tracing, schedule a chat with us via this link

This post was written by Melissa Varela, Yemsrach Beshe, and Marcel Haynes.  

Melissa Varela is a Salesforce Admin, teacher at heart, and believer that Salesforce truly makes people’s lives easier. Melissa has become a regular contributor to the Bitwise Industries blog. 

Yemsrach Beshe is a Salesforce Administrator at Bitwise Industries. You can find her binge-watching a good documentary on Netflix or hiking the great outdoors. 

Marcel Haynes is a Salesforce Administrator at Bitwise Industries. He’s also an artist, mixologist, and dog parent.