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As Delta Surges, Premier Advances COVID-19 Research

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Since early this summer, patients infected with the SARS-Cov-2 delta variant have filled U.S. hospitals and health systems to capacity in many states and reinforced the importance of having real-world data at clinicians’ fingertips to better understand its impact on disease severity and support evidence-based treatment decisions.

As the largest hospital administrative database in the nation, the Premier Healthcare Database (PHD) offers geographically diverse and timely real-world data and evidence to help hospitals and health systems prepare for COVID-19 surges and direct local and national responses to communities in need. The Premier Applied Sciences® (PAS) research team along with U.S. government agencies – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – have leveraged the PHD data to characterize the disease and clinical outcomes, find better treatments, examine COVID-19 vaccine-related outcomes, and assess the impact of the pandemic on healthcare service delivery and quality.

As of September 2021, the PHD has captured more than 2.4 million confirmed COVID-19 patients who were treated in inpatient and outpatient settings across 918 U.S. hospitals and health systems and 2.7 million patients with COVID-19 vaccine administrated in PHD hospitals. With an average lag time of 2 weeks to 2 months and comprehensive data on discharges, microbiology, general labs, vital signs, and imaging, the PHD is the most timely and powerful database in the nation to study COVID-19.

Below are four recent examples of how the PHD informed COVID-19 research

  1. Understanding the change in severity of COVID-19 during the pandemic and determining whether COVID-19 is less deadly with better treatment.
    With the pandemic evolving, many people think that COVID-19 becomes less deadly with better treatment options available. However, a recent study conducted by the PAS researchers using the PHD data showed that after the initial drop in in-hospital mortality rate among patients with COVID-19 from April to June of 2020, the in-hospital mortality rate remained above 10% till October of 2020 then increased to 14% during the surge in November 2020-February 2021. This study has been published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
  2. Is there an association between COVID-19 surges and mortality risk?
    Does surge in COVID-19 patients in hospitals affect quality of care and patient outcomes? In a recent study conducted by the NIH using the PHD data, researchers found that nearly 1 in every 4 COVID-19 deaths may have been attributable to surging caseloads. In fact, mortality risk doubled in those facilities treating the greatest number of patients. Using this data, hospitals and health systems can better prepare operationally, educate staff, and provide better support for evidence-based decision making at the point of care.
  3. Uncovering the long-term complications of COVID-19 to inform future clinical and public health decisions.
    Case reports and stories about COVID-19 long-term complications are often seen in the media. However, little is known about how often it happens and what long-term complications patients are experiencing. A recent study conducted by researchers from CDC leveraging data from the PHD suggested that over 7 percent of adults experienced post-COVID health conditions during the 31-120 days after their initial hospital visit for COVID-19. This finding is key to informing future healthcare practice and resource planning for systems for follow-up COVID-19 care.
  4. Understanding the hospitalization rate and risk factors for severe illness in U.S. national sample of pediatric COVID-19 patients.
    As the delta variant surges and schools open nationwide, the total number of COVID-19 cases and total number of hospitalizations among children skyrocketed and many hospitals and health systems reached capacity in pediatric ICUs. It is important to understand the risk factors of disease severity among kids. Using the PHD data, researchers from the CDC were able to conclude that nearly 12 percent of children with COVID-19 were hospitalized, and of those, 31 percent experienced severe COVID that required admission to the ICU and/or mechanical ventilation. Severe COVID-19 occurred more often in children aged 2-11, compared to older children, in boys and among children with one or more chronic conditions.

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