Clinicians gain insight into COVID-19 with real-time data

A new digital data platform will help frontline healthcare workers treat patients with COVID-19 by giving them access to real-time data about the virus in a way that has not been possible before in Australia.

The Clinical Data and Analytics Platform (CDAP), developed through the Digital Health CRC, will provide nationally available real-time analytics on the progression of COVID-19 patients to severe disease and will enable clinicians to use this data almost immediately to aid them in decision-making when treating patients.

The $4 million digital health project is a partnership between Digital Health CRC, NSW Health, Queensland Health, Commonwealth Health, Queensland University of Technology, Monash University and the University of Sydney and will be piloted in NSW by Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN).

Professor Tom Snelling, infectious diseases physician at SCHN and Director of the Health and Clinical Analytics team at the University of Sydney, is the clinical lead for the CDAP and said the pandemic has shown why a tool like this is so important.

"We don't have any known effective treatments for COVID-19 – it is a completely new virus. So our main focus is on trying to give the clinicians and healthcare workers on the frontline of this epidemic access to as much information as we can,” Professor Snelling said.

“We need digital solutions that improve our knowledge of how best to manage people with COVID-19 in near real time.”

The data captured in the CDAP will not only help health professionals better understand COVID-19 but it will also help to improve management of the disease and will support clinical trials that are assessing different treatments.

With this information, the decision support tool will be able to be used to predict which patients will need hospital and intensive care admission, as well as the likely outcomes of interventions.

“The CDAP has been built to rapidly extract and organise clinical data, which will help us learn why some people have severe disease and which treatments result in the best outcomes,” Professor Snelling said.

Jane Shrapnel, Data Scientist and Nancy Kapur, Data Engineer at SCHN, are leading the pilot data extraction for the Sydney region. The project will then be handed over to e-Health NSW to centralise data collection across NSW.

This CDAP project will also become an important template for managing other health conditions like sepsis and other serious illnesses.

“Up until this point, clinicians have really been in the dark with COVID-19. This system though will give clinicians the data they need to develop new models of care, not just for COVID-19 but for a whole range of other similar illnesses,” Ms Shrapnel said.

 “The CDAP is setting us up for the future – the data and insights we receive will be invaluable in shaping the way we diagnose and treat patients both now and moving forward.  It will be lifesaving.”

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