HCA Healthcare, Google Cloud launch platform to pool all hospital COVID-19 data

HCA Healthcare is partnering with Google Cloud to open up a COVID-19 data portal that pools hospital metrics on ICU beds, testing results and patient visits.

The National Response Portal will provide vital information to healthcare providers, policymakers and the general public as a "one-stop-shop" for all health data related to COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the organizations.

The open data platform was built and will be operated by SADA Systems, a cloud solutions provider specializing in technology consulting and IT services. Running on Google Cloud, the platform is intended to promote data sharing about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is spreading in an effort to help hospitals and communities prepare and respond.

The portal will integrate data from hospitals across the country and combine those data with public data sets. The data will be made available to hospital administrators, researchers, government representatives and the public.

The platform is expected to go live to the public next week. 

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HCA, Google and SADA are seeking to onboard other hospitals. Providers interested in learning more and submitting data should visit the COVID-19 National Response Portal website.

“COVID-19 presents a unique and significant challenge to healthcare providers, and collaboration and coordination is more important than ever to help ensure the best possible response,” said Edmund Jackson, Ph.D., HCA Healthcare’s chief data officer. “While COVID-19 has driven us apart physically, we will respond to it by coming together digitally. We are proud to work alongside Google Cloud to create a platform to help address this urgent public health challenge.”

Hospitals face challenges with legacy infrastructure and siloed data sets that hamper their ability to integrate their data in a way that provides specific, actionable, geographically oriented insights into their data, according to the organizations.

Healthcare organizations also lack access to a full range of relevant public data sources, such as weather, traffic and socioeconomic factors.

Through the portal, healthcare organizations will share and display anonymous, aggregated metrics from hospital systems into a single platform to show a complete and real-time view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Data can be submitted each day from hospital systems and will be focused on metrics such as ICU bed supply and utilization; ventilator supply and utilization; total numbers of positive, negative and pending COVID-19 test results; and total numbers of healthy patients who have been discharged, the organizations said.

The platform will also have the ability to leverage publicly available data sets such as data on local shelter-in-place policies and traffic or mobility patterns to help shed light on how public behaviors and policies may impact the spread of COVID-19. 

“As healthcare providers, we are all battling the same crisis,” said Michael Wargo, vice president of emergency preparedness at HCA Healthcare. “However, we are being faced with COVID-19 at different times and levels of severity. By pooling our data into one cohesive platform, we can share best practices to better prepare communities across the country for this unprecedented pandemic.” 

HCA Healthcare uses data from approximately 35 million annual patient encounters to improve care through research and innovation, the health system said.

HCA Healthcare, which will provide statistical data from its 185 hospitals structured in a manner to comply with HIPAA and other applicable restrictions, has invited groups representing approximately 4,000 hospitals across the country to join and share data on the platform.