National Response Portal enables hospital data sharing to combat coronavirus

Several large U.S. healthcare systems have teamed with Google and SADA to establish an open data platform to provide hospitals and government officials granular views of ICU and ventilator utilization at the local level.

With the number of coronavirus cases surging in most U.S. states, several healthcare providers are seeking to enable an unprecedented level of data sharing with the creation of the National Response Portal (NRP).

Built on Google Cloud by cloud solutions provider SADA, the NRP is an open data platform intended to help hospitals and communities better understand and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing an "on the ground' picture of the situation.

"At the beginning of the outbreak we were in a time of great uncertainty. No one had ever seen COVID before. We didn't know what to expect," says Dr. Edmund Jackson, chief data officer at HCA Healthcare, which sparked the NRP project. "At HCA, we realized that in order for us to prepare for it, we needed to see more than we usually do. We had to understand as a healthcare system, not as individual participants, but as a system, what the total state of COVID was in the nation."

Numerous data hubs and portals emerged in the wake of the outbreak, providing data access to data from Johns Hopkins University, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While Jackson says those efforts were invaluable, he says hospitals need more granular data specific to their regions to best respond to the crisis.

"Using the publicly available data sets, it wasn't clear how many beds we were going to need, how many ventilators we were going to need," Jackson says. "What were the PPE requirements? What we really needed was the current ICU census of all the hospitals in a particular region, how many ventilators are available, and what are the growth rates of the utilization of those assets?"

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