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Hartford Hospital Joins Global COVID-19 Data-Sharing Study

July 30, 2020

Hartford Hospital has joined a global alliance of clinicians and scientists dedicated to sharing clinical insights and using cutting-edge technology to find more effective treatments for the most critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The study is hosted by the COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium (COVID Critical), an international group that has quickly expanded to almost 400 hospitals and research facilities in 52 countries since it was established in January 2020.

Hartford Hospital’s participation will be led by Ethan Kurtzman, its Mechanical Circulatory Support Program Coordinator.

“This pandemic has tested the ability of clinicians and healthcare leaders across the globe,” Kurtzman said. “It is abundantly clear that we, as a worldwide healthcare team, have met these challenges with fortitude and rigor. By being a part of this consortium of brilliant minds, Hartford Hospital continues to provide data and support to not only help patients in our local region, but also in other areas of the world where consistent clinical data is not available.”

“The bedside clinicians caring for these patients every day are the heroes. The sacrifices made by these brave people is heart-warming and truly inspiring. The COVID Critical study can help them make the clinical decisions by providing the most up-to-date information, fuelled by global research and collaboration.”

COVID Critical’s aim is to equip all intensive care clinicians, regardless of nationality or affiliation, with the best and most up-to-date information to save lives and improve patient outcomes during the pandemic and beyond.

“Right now, this pandemic is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, where there are pieces of information about COVID scattered all over the globe,” Kurtzman said. “If the world shares all of its data, as we are doing through our Consortium, we can bring all these disparate jigsaw puzzle pieces together to create a clearer picture of what these patients need and how to save lives.

“With enough data, we will start seeing patterns in what works and when; for example, when might be the best time to ventilate a patient or whether or not to use ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).”

The anonymized data will be analysed and distributed by data scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia and Oxford University in England. Once the database is large enough, the scientists will apply AI (artificial intelligence) techniques to generate insights quickly based on “big data.”

The Consortium is also working with IBM to design a dashboard app that will present these insights to clinicians quickly on a mobile phone or laptop to inform them when treating their own patients.

“I think it is very exciting that COVID Critical’s research may one day give all frontline healthcare workers, regardless of nationality or affiliation, access to the best and most up-to-the-minute clinical insights, right by their patients’ bedsides. Being a part of this group of extraordinarily talented professionals brings me great pride,” Kurtzman said.

Among the members of the Critical Care Consortium are clinicians working ins some of the country’s worst hit by the virus to date, including the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil and India.

The COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium study is supported by ISARIC (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium), and Australia’s Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, The Wesley Medical Research and Queensland Health.

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