As the country continues to realize the impacts of COVID-19, the healthcare industry’s unwavering commitment to improve health outcomes for patients is one of a few remaining constants. As the demand for equipment, personnel and space to sustain the increased volume of patients who require COVID care and treatment surges, so does the need for data driven insights to help make decisions and formulate response and care strategies.
Healthcare leaders in states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan—to name a few—have been attempting to identify and predict “hot spots” relating to the virus’ spread. These leaders have had to quickly respond to the challenges associated with clinical care needs for sick patients, as well as proactively educate and communicate with other at-risk populations.
Identifying Areas of Need
A meaningful and ongoing response strategy to this pandemic requires access to timely data. The Health Care business of LexisNexis Risk Solutions maintains the necessary types and volume of data required to assist in constructing such an actionable strategy.
Our assets include:
- Provider data, covering 8.5 million healthcare professionals and organizations in the U.S.
- Medical claims data, including 1.6 billion de-identified medical claims which include information about diagnoses, treatments and practitioners; and
- Socioeconomic risk factors on the broader US population.
To enhance these data assets we realize the need to acquire information made available by other notable resources such as the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which includes information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Hospital Association.
By including this data into our efforts, we developed a COVID-19 National Data Resource Center in the form of an interactive, real-time U.S. heat map. The National Data Resource Center delivers timely insights that identify at-risk populations and care capacity gaps.
By visualizing challenges presented as percentile rankings of severe health outcomes and care capacity risks, the map helps decision makers identify risks and opportunities between at-risk populations, coverage of medical professionals, care locations, and facility capacity.
How it Works
The National Data Resource Center displays a heat map of the U.S. counties that are assigned a percentile rank on a scale of 0 (low-risk) to 100 (high-risk) for those at-risk for poor health outcomes due to COVID-19 and those in need of critical care resources to help combat the impact of COVID-19. The percentile rankings provided consider residents’ ages (60 and older), comorbidities and socioeconomic factors.
Supporting attributes to generate these percentile rankings include aggregated and de-identified information on population density, information on relatives and associates with underlying conditions such as asthma and diabetes, economic stability, access to transportation, and how well communities can adhere to medical recommendations, including their ability to physically distance from one another.
In addition to these insights, we were able to determine which communities are most in need of critical resources by analyzing the number of critical specialties including: pulmonary and infectious disease specialists, respiratory therapists, and critical care intensivists. The model that generates percentile rankings also considers the number of healthcare facilities, hospitals and ICU beds, and the availability of vital equipment in each county in the United States.
Users can view these aggregate insights utilizing a simple, color-coded, heat-map made available through desktop and mobile ready layouts.
Understanding Dynamic Conditions to Improve Health Outcomes
As the COVID-19 pandemic materialized and spread, it has changed so much about healthcare delivery, how we prepare, and how we go about our daily lives. We are reminded how fragile our health and the healthcare system can be. As an industry, healthcare has an opportunity to learn from this pandemic and improve our preparedness by having ready access to data that will help inform decisions about health, wellness and care capacity.
The National Data Resource Center provides a valuable tool that healthcare decision-makers can use to better address the needs of specific communities. This data provides important insights, which are updated and refreshed on an ongoing basis, so that our healthcare system can better deploy personnel and protective equipment, medical equipment and ready their facilities to combat and prevent further spread.
Many organizations are leveraging advanced technology solutions in support of this goal to improve health outcomes, and we are proud to be one of them.
As the COVID-19 fight continues, data-driven decisions are vital for resource allocation, improved outcomes, disease prevention and cost containment. With better understanding of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S., care providers, public health experts and policy-makers can appropriate front-line resources and efforts where they are most needed—at the point of care for patients.