HCA teams with AHRQ, Johns Hopkins to share key data on COVID-19

Major hospital chain HCA Healthcare entered into an agreement with the federal government and several research institutions to gain access to unidentified patient data on COVID-19 in the hopes of accelerating research into the virus.

The healthcare giant reached a deal Tuesday with the federal Agency for Health Research and Quality and several universities such as Johns Hopkins and Duke. The goal is to use the scale of HCA’s 187 hospitals to boost learning about how to fight the virus.

“We have a social responsibility to make data available in a private way and protected way so that the top minds in government and academia can partner with us to help us better understand COVID-19 and its treatment,” said Jonathan Perlin, M.D., Ph.D., HCA’s chief medical officer and president of the clinical operations group, in an interview with Fierce Healthcare.

The consortium will use a technology platform to explore different trends in data that obscure any individually identified information, HCA said in a release.

HCA facilities saw more than 110,000 patients for COVID-19 last year. The system has captured data on how the patients are treated that researchers can glean new strategies for either treatments or clinical best practices.

 “With respect to COVID, this is a novel disease,” Perlin said. “We are still learning about the pattern of the disease itself and still learning about what works and what doesn’t.”

HCA has previously built a data warehouse that can bring information together to look for patterns to improve patient care, Perlin said.

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Key areas of study will also be the social determinants of health and racial inequity.

“We know COVID has extracted a disproportionate toll on populations and we are interested in looking at the social determinants and their relationship to COVID,” Perlin said.

Another potential area of research is looking at how to prevent ICU complications, he said.

The consortium will start with any retrospective studies to look at the efficacy and safety of any treatments already being used to fight the virus and developing new predictive models.

“The insights gained from this research may lead to future clinical trials,” HCA said in a release.

Perlin said that HCA has entered into such types of partnerships before, including a partnership with the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute and the University of California, Irvine to reduce hospital infections.