HCA data consortium with AHRQ and others seeks to speed COVID-19 research

HCA Healthcare this week announced a new collaborative project through which it will work with leading public and private research institutions to make use of HCA’s troves of COVID-19 hospital care data to improve treatments, outcomes and public health.

The COVID-19 Consortium of HCA Healthcare and Academia for Research GEneration – COVID-19 CHARGE – will enable cooperation and coordination among all members to develop new research initiatives, validate methods and share innovative ideas.

Participating healthcare organizations will gain access to the data in a research program directed by the HCA Healthcare Research Institute.

The work will be based on a technology platform from DataFleets that allows multiple collaborators to explore trends in a protected environment that obscures individually-identifying information, according to HCA. Among the members of COVID-19 CHARGE:

  • HCA Healthcare, HCA Healthcare Research Institute and Sarah Cannon Research Institute
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Columbia University
  • Duke University
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
  • HOspital MEdicine Reengineering Network (HOMERuN), which includes University of California San Francisco, Baystate Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Meharry Medical College

HCA Healthcare has approximately 35 million annual patient encounters across more than 180 hospitals and 2,000 other care sites. Using its Genospace precision medicine platform, the health system built a COVID-19 patient registry early on during pandemic that it says has captured data from more suspected and positive COVID-19 cases than any other health system in the U.S., including more than 110,000 inpatients.

Using that data, HCA says the group of researchers will look first to retrospective studies, assessing the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 treatments, seeking better understanding of why certain clinical outcomes occur and developing new predictive models. The hope is that this research will enable new clinical trials going forward.

“Access to HCA Healthcare’s vast data repository will greatly accelerate the pace of discovery of new knowledge related to systems and approaches to care for patients with COVID-19,” said Dr. Shoshana J. Herzig, director of hospital medicine research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in a statement. “To put it succinctly, this initiative will help save lives.”

Over the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency, a wide array of different collaboratives have formed to develop new approaches that might help find a way out of the pandemic.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition brought EHR vendors (Epic, athenahealth), Big Tech (AWS, Microsoft), health systems (Mayo, Intermountain) and others together with the goal of developing new “secure, ethical, innovative, open source” tools for clinicians and public health professionals.

And earlier this month, the new Vaccination Credential Initiative was launched by an array of stakeholders – CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, the Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, MITRE, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce – to work together on a new approach to enabling more secure, interoperable access to digital vaccination records.

“Scale accelerates learning,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, president, clinical operations group, and chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare, in a statement announcing the COVID-19 CHARGE project.

“As HCA Healthcare’s learning network has treated more COVID-19 inpatients than any other health system in the U.S.,” he said, “this innovative public, private and academic sector partnership accelerates the understanding of COVID-19 and its treatment in a manner that would be difficult to replicate elsewhere and serves as a model for addressing the nation’s most pressing healthcare questions.”

“AHRQ is pleased to have been part of establishing this innovative partnership,” added Dr. David Meyers, MD, acting director of AHRQ. “We believe it has both the potential to rapidly produce new evidence to improve the safety and quality of care for people with COVID-19 and serve as a model for the development of a national learning health system. Using data to produce new evidence that enhances the quality, safety and value of healthcare delivery is at the core of AHRQ’s mission.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

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