How states are collecting data to track COVID-19 equipment shortages, hospital beds

Several states have developed databases and digital systems to track not only the spread of COVID-19 but also information concerning hospital bed and equipment shortages.

On April 6, CDC announced it will provide $186 million in additional funding to states and local jurisdictions to support COVID-19 tracking and prevention efforts across the U.S. The funding will support state departments build testing and surveillance capabilities.

New York has rolled out various initiatives, including most recently merging all 200 of its hospitals into a single digital system to manage and disperse staff, patients and equipment to hospitals hit hardest by COVID-19. By merging to a unified system, the state will now track hospitals' staff, patients and supplies to help manage the distribution of resources including PPE for healthcare workers.

New York City also deployed a COVID-19 portal for people to self-report COVID-19 symptoms, when they have tested positive for the disease or have been exposed to the virus. Users enter a limited amount of personal information, which is shared only with city officials who need it to track medical equipment and testing needs.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association created an online data dashboard that shows the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state, ventilator usage, current hospital bed availability and metrics on the number of hospitals experiencing shortages of PPE and other medical supplies.

In Washington, the state's health department experienced downtime at the end of March of its COVID-19 case tracker after a surge in case data overwhelmed the disease-reporting system. Public officials said the lag in data did not adversely affect its public health planning during the pandemic and that the state's reporting of COVID-19 cases has also been affected by incomplete and inaccurate data in the system.

Nevada's health and human services department also launched a centralized, searchable database of the state's COVID-19 data, which displays the number of tests performed, positive and negative results and deaths.

More articles on data analytics:
Hospitals begin daily COVID-19 data reports to the federal government: 5 things to know
Google, Microsoft partner with England's health service to track COVID-19 spread 
Florida city taps 'smart thermometers' to build COVID-19 database

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