New Tools for Tracking and Forecasting COVID-19
Modeling What’s to Come
The AHA has developed a new resource, “COVID-19 Models: Forecasting the Pandemic’s Spread,” in response to members’ interest in tools that can help them make decisions that are consistent with their organizations’ values and community needs. The report provides an overview of and links to 11 models that can help organizations address case projections and capacity planning, community vulnerability mapping and case mapping.
Identifying New Clusters
Mount Sinai Health System has enlisted its data scientists, engineers and clinicians to develop a new app — STOP COVID — aimed at halting the spread in New York City. Data collected will help health care professionals become more informed about growing clusters of outbreaks in specific communities across the city.
Facebook Tracking Maps
Facebook has launched three maps to its Data for Good program to track the potential spread of COVID-19. A new co-location map determines the probability that different Facebook users will come into contact with each other in person. The Movement Range Map shows if people are staying near home on a county-by-county level, and the Social Connectedness Map provides insights around Facebook connections (i.e., Facebook friends) across geographic lines.
Online Data Dashboards
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association has launched a COVID-19 dashboard that provides up-to-date information on hospitalizations, bed availability, ventilator use and metrics on the number of hospitals experiencing challenges in obtaining or replenishing critical inventories of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
Athenahealth is adding two new dashboards to address the coronavirus. The first helps provider organizations pinpoint areas with high-risk patients. The second is a lab-testing dashboard that shows providers a map of where tests are being ordered by other health care workers on the athenahealth network.
Hospital IQ last week launched the COVID-19 Regional Forecast Dashboard, a free tool to help hospitals plan for surges of COVID-19 patients. The dashboard provides visibility to the county-level resource needs based on precise predictions of peak hospital admissions, bed capacity and ventilators. The dashboard automatically aggregates data from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s COVID-19 model, as well as other trusted sources in real time, to provide an up-to-date dashboard of current and forecasted COVID-19 cases and associated resource needs.
Surge-Response Strategy Tool
A new RAND report presents a list of strategies for creating critical care surge capacity and estimates the number of patients accommodated, given the number of available critical care doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists, ventilators and hospital beds. They also document the development of a user-friendly, Microsoft Excel-based tool that allows decision-makers at all levels — hospitals, health care systems, states, regions — to estimate current critical care capacity and rapidly explore strategies for increasing it.
Will This Ease Ventilator Demand?
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School have identified a widely-available drug prazosin that might help to mitigate the most severe effect of COVID-19 — the cytokine storm. This drug isn’t a cure, but if it works, it might prevent the need to go on a ventilator.
Testing for COVID-19 Antibodies
BD is making available a rapid, point-of-care blood test that identifies antibodies to confirm either current or previous exposure to COVID-19. It will be distributed by Henry Schein to U.S. health care providers. BD expects to begin shipping the tests this month.
Survivor Plasma Offers Hope
UW Hospital in Madison, Wis., will become one of the first hospitals in the U.S. to treat COVID-19 patients with blood from people who have survived the virus as part of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. Meanwhile, Adaptive Biotechnologies is extending its immune medicine platform to discover therapeutic antibodies recovered from COVID-19 patients and is partnering with Amgen on developing a therapy to prevent or treat the virus.
Competitors Partner on Dialysis Clinics
Dialysis clinic operators Fresenius Medical Care and DaVita, along with U.S. Renal Care, American Renal Associates and Satellite Healthcare, are partnering to create and share a nationwide network of clinics that will focus on serving patients with COVID-19. This strategy will help safeguard caregivers, conserve personal protective equipment and other supplies, and free up resources at hospitals, many of which are at or nearing capacity.
Meeting PPE Needs
Help Equip Health Care Workers
The AHA has partnered with Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, consulting firm Kearney, Merit Solutions, Goodwill and UPS to launch HealthEquip™, a smart app that will match individuals and organizations donating PPE with local hospitals based on needs criteria.
This new feature will facilitate businesses and suppliers to participate in Protecting People Everywhere to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals based on needs criteria powered by HealthEquip. The app also will track PPE donations and manage shipping through UPS to hospitals. The AHA is sharing this app with hospitals through its 100 Million Mask Challenge as a way for the AHA to help facilitate a more efficient means of distributing critically needed PPE to front-line health care workers.
Decontaminating N95 Masks
Beaumont Health is using a two-step cleansing process to disinfect previously worn N95 mask, which allows health care professionals to use masks a second or third time. Spectrum Health uses aerosolized hydrogen peroxide and heat on N95 masks between shifts. Goggles, face shields and other hard-surface items will be sanitized using ultraviolet light. Also, Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine is studying decontamination processes for used personal protective equipment.
Business Community Steps Up to Help Providers Respond
Infection Control Courses
In the wake of COVID-19, a set of more than 25 free courses to train staff in emergency preparedness and infection control will be available to health care organizations through Aug. 31. HealthcareSource, a provider of talent-management solutions, offers the courses in partnership with Amplifire Healthcare Alliance, a collaboration of health systems.
Managing Through Uncertainty
Kronos, a provider of workforce-management cloud solutions, offers hospitals and health systems practical guidance to support employee well-being, maximize remote workforce productivity and maintain operations continuity through its Managing Through Times of Uncertainty web page.
Network Security Monitoring
With cybercriminals taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase attacks, CI Security is offering health care organizations free 24/7 detection and response through the end of this summer. For details and help in getting started, email Jake Milstein at email@example.com or call 206-718-9602.
Safe Patient Engagement
CPSI, a community health care solutions company, and QliqSOFT, a technology innovation firm, have partnered to provide a COVID-19 Toolkit, a free patient engagement application to help hospital staff safely engage with their communities in response to COVID-19. CPSI is also offering its “Talk With Your Doc” telehealth portal free to doctors, clinics, hospitals and other health care providers throughout 2020.