Iowa is backing out of a plan to use Microsoft software for registering patients and scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations, the latest challenge to the software giant’s efforts to make money helping states overwhelmed with residents looking for shots.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the change of heart in a news conference Wednesday, saying state officials concluded it would be too hard to combine existing scheduling systems and were trying to avoid disruptions. The state will instead focus on bolstering its current systems. Just last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and members of his administration complained about significant glitches in that state’s Microsoft-built vaccination scheduling system.
“After learning more about the breadth of Microsoft’s solution and reviewing the challenges faced by some other states in their rollouts, and speaking with our vaccine partners, we have made the determination not to move forward with the contract,” Iowa’s Reynolds said. “It quickly became apparent that integrating the many already existing registration and scheduling platforms that are used by some of our public health departments, pharmacies, as well as other vaccine providers, it would not be possible in a timely manner without significant disruption to their current systems and we did not want to slow down the progress that we’re making.”
Iowa had said last week it would use Microsoft’s tools for the vaccine rollout. In New Jersey, the system had yet to work correctly after five weeks, two administration officials who asked not to be identified said last week. That was a high-profile stumble for Redmond-based Microsoft, which is trying to build a big business from selling software to run hospitals and health care systems and has been touting its ability to aid the nationwide effort to inoculate residents against the coronavirus.
“We remain focused on helping governments manage their COVID-19 vaccination programs as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement.