28 companies, including tech firms, collaborate on EHR-fueled COVID-19 database

An assortment of 28 U.S. firms have formed a cross-industry collaboration to attack COVID-19. These include well-known technology companies such as Change Healthcare, SAS, Helix, Veradigm and Boston Health Economics.


Boston Health Economics, for example, is an independent analytics organization that aids providers in conducting research and helps analytic teams in generating evidence to improve medical decision-making.

An example of the type of assessments that healthcare providers can conduct with or without help from the group of vendors includes queries to the group’s COVID-19 Research Database.

Doctors and other stakeholders can use the database to evaluate drug effectiveness using de-identified electronic health record and claims data, identify demographic factors and pre-existing conditions that point toward the need for ventilator support, and assess the impact of quarantine measures.

Researchers hoping to use the COVID-19 Research Database can submit a proposal to the COVID Scientific Steering Committee, chaired by Dr. Mark Cullen, founding director at the Center for Population Health Science and a professor of medicine at Stanford University. Researchers whose submissions are accepted can access the COVID-19 Database at no charge. But with that access comes with a caveat from Cullen.


Other health IT vendors and provider organizations are working on COVID-19 solutions to help the healthcare industry.

For example, Cleveland Clinic and SAS have co-created a series of models to help hospitals anticipate enterprise resource planning needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and made them available via GitHub.

The predictive models can help health systems forecast patient volume, bed capacity, ventilator availability and more – helping them plan for more efficient and high-quality care delivery, while optimizing supply chain, staffing, operations and more.

Cleveland Clinic and SAS say the models were designed to show “worst-case, best-case and most-likely scenarios,” and can be tweaked in real time to factor in variables such as social distancing’s dampening effect.


“The first challenge that many researchers have run into with this crisis is the difficulty of accessing high-quality health data that can be used to help solve pressing questions such as drug and non-drug treatment effects, factors that drive differential risk of catching the disease, and very different outcomes in those who do,” the Center for Population Health Science’s Cullen said. “As a massive public-private collaboration, the COVID-19 Research Database offers researchers and clinicians a solution and a chance to dramatically accelerate our understanding of this highly infectious virus.”

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