I checked out the WebIZ Public Portal as the VaxNevadaDays drawings are about to begin and found the experience concerning enough that I solicited input from others on NextDoor, where it certainly generated a lot of interest, interaction, and concern. The system appears to have so many issues that it is hard to believe it is as all-inclusive as they lead us to believe. I would like to suggest some solutions (several of which should be simple, low-cost, quick-hit) to cause a lot less frustration and confusion going forward.
- Put more information on the WebIZ Portal site itself, as well as on VaxNevadaDays.org. I do not pay much attention to local media because it is generally very basic or poor quality, especially the RJ. The article they published on July 5, however, had some valuable information I wish I’d seen sooner. It would’ve saved me 36 hours of researching, writing emails, and making phone calls, if it were available on the actual sites themselves. The WebIZ Portal is particularly lacking in accurate and helpful information, as well as usability, especially for a public-facing site for all citizens, some of whom might not be particularly tech-savvy to begin with.
- Ensure that the contact information transmitted by the provider for each vaccination updates the record accordingly. It makes no sense for the site to request someone’s current cell phone number or email address if the contact information has not been updated in 8 or 10 years. The system is definitely messed up if it is using home numbers to store data but requesting users input a cell number to text them a code and expecting it to match.
- Ensure that email addresses transmitted by the provider for each vaccination updates the record accordingly. Several of my “neighbors” on NextDoor who did not get results when they entered their email address had better luck when they entered their cell number. So it appears not many have an email address associated with their records, yet this is the only option if a non-cell phone number is attached to the record. It didn’t help that there was no indication this had to match what was on file.
- Communicate clearly and accurately. The WebIZ Portal indicates to put in a cell number or email to get a code to access your record. It apparently assumes that every phone number is now a cell number with texting capability, that people only have one phone number, and/or that the provider always provides the correct number if there are two numbers on file.
- It does NOT indicate that it must match something already on the record.
- It does NOT indicate that the record may not have been updated to include this information, even if it was submitted by the provider. I verified all my information was correct with Walgreens, yet when I put my details in the WebIZ Portal, it indicated “no records found.”
- It offers NO way to access your record if it is associated with a non-cell phone number, such as an automated call to provide a code or a way to enter an alternative.
- It does NOT give any information on how to resolve the situation if your record may be under a non-cell number. Once I figured out that the number entered for a code must need to match something on file, I tried my non-cell number out of curiosity. Then, I got a note to Request a Code, but I could not receive one that way. It would have been most helpful to have something telling me what to do if this was NOT a cell number. I clicked to Request a Code anyway, just to see what would happen (since trial and error is how I figured out all the other mysteries) and it took me to a page that requested a Username and Password (not a Code). I still don’t know what that was about, and there was no help to be had. When I clicked on “Forgot Password”, it told me I didn’t have the required security questions set up and would need to call.
- Just knowing there is a record doesn’t do much good if you can’t see what is on it and confirm that it is complete. If the contact information wasn’t updated to be current, it would be logical to assume that the actual vaccination record had not been updated either.
- Explain any “random” information. One of my “neighbors” on NextDoor was confused by the indication at the top of her WebIZ record (! = Invalid Dose Ø = Dose determined invalid by provider). Once I was finally able to access my record, I saw what she was talking about and could see it was probably a key. It would be great to explain that, for example, “If you see one of these symbols next to an item in your record, please contact your provider.”
- If there are systems/databases separate from WebIZ (e.g., VA, DOD) that will be included in the drawing, that information should again be prominent in any overview of the drawings (e.g., on VaxNevadaDays). One of my “neighbors” on NextDoor had his shots at the VA and had been trying for many weeks to get WebIZ updated.
- Make data entry consistent with that found elsewhere. In my NextDoor research, I found that many people were having trouble figuring out how to enter their birth date. If it behaves in an unexpected way, at least EXPLAIN how to enter data in that field.
- Explain any control processes to reassure people that providers are complying with the 72-hour window for updating the records.
- Offer possible explanations for why some individual records may be missing from a person’s vaccination record and whether there may be multiple records for an individual. A few of my “neighbors” on NextDoor indicated that they had several missing that had been given at Walgreens (from Covid to flu to pneumonia). Is that information perhaps in a different record or is Walgreens really not sending updates as required? How can that be made clear and, better yet, remedied?
- Avoid circular redirects and misinformation throughout the process. I ended up contacting every possible party because it was unclear who I was actually supposed to contact for what. I only figured out as much as I did about the crazy process because I couldn’t get answers anywhere and I wasn’t sure what the problem was so. Once I puzzled out everything down to the home phone number, then it was clear it was a WebIZ issue to get the record updated. By then, I had made the rounds:
- I started with the provider (Walgreens) who suggested calling WebIZ after I confirmed all my information was accurate in their system. But they also told me that maybe corporate hadn’t yet put it in to the State given the volume and all the different systems.
- I called WebIZ and the voice mail greeting said to contact entries@VaxNevadaDays.org to check if you were entered.
- I did that, after having submitted a form on that Website the prior night, and also left a voice mail for WebIZ. VaxNevadaDays.org indicates “Hours of Operation: 7am – 8pm PST, 7 days a week” but apparently that did not apply to July 4 and 5.
- I also emailed WebIZ and messaged Immunize Nevada via Facebook.
DRAFT TRANSCRIPT: VIDEO COMMENTS PROVIDED TO LAS VEGAS CHANNEL 13 KTNV’s BREE GUY (Video segment that aired)
I knew the vaccine drawings were coming up so I wondered if there was any way to verify my records. The VaxNevadaDays site pointed me to the WebIZ Public Portal and when it told me “no records found”, I put it out there to the NextDoor community to see if anyone else had tried it and that really got a discussion going.
WebIZ is not particularly user-friendly and doesn’t offer any real help or guidance, so I kept digging to try to figure it out, giving people updates along the way.
The biggest block seems to be that it says to enter your email or cell number to get a code to access your record. What it really means is enter the email or phone number that is associated with your record, which may be a number from long ago. And it seems a lot of records don’t have ANY emails associated with them. Several people in the NextDoor thread found nothing with their email but were able to gain access with their cell.
In my case, my old landline number got me to the point where I could Request a Code. This meant there was at least a record but no way to get access to it.
Basically, it actually appears to be using old numbers to store data but requesting users input a current cell number to text them a code and expecting it to match.
Fortunately I’d already left messages at WebIZ and VaxNevadaDays so I got a call first thing today, after the official holiday. They immediately updated my record with my cell and email and told me to check in an hour. It worked, and I am all set!
Bottom line, if you are not finding your records via the WebIZ portal, try any phone number you might have used in the last 15 years or so. If you get to where you can request a code but that number is not a cell number or even if nothing works, you very likely still have a record and need to call WebIZ to have them manually update (or add) the contact information. They seem to be following up pretty quickly.
If you have any specific concerns about contest entry, the State has been pointing people to firstname.lastname@example.org. They also replied today to the email I sent over the holiday.
My advice to the State – WebIZ would be much easier for everyone if:
- It updated records with the current contact information the provider has
- It at least referenced the matching requirement so people have some sense of the problem
- It offered an option if the number doesn’t have texting available, like an automated call.
A help page would be a really simple way to address a lot of other things that came up on NextDoor:
- Figuring out how to get it to take their birth date
- What the Invalid Dose indicators at the top of their page meant
- How VA records are handled
- Why some individual records may be missing from a person’s overall immunization record