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Building A Real-Time Covid-19 Early-Warning System

Published in: Harvard Business Review

Efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S have been stymied by the lack of an effective national surveillance system that can track the emergence of suspected and confirmed new cases in real-time.

This is in part because important patient data is trapped in siloed electronic health record systems that don’t communicate well with each other; a new case of suspected Covid-19 in one health system could be invisible to another in the same community, blinding the systems and public health officials to Covid-19 hotspots that may be developing right in front of them.

If we could see such hotspots as they appear we could direct resources where they’re needed most to treat new patients and contain transmission. Leveraging an existing platform that already accesses the electronic health records of 200,000 physicians and health care providers across more than 400 hospitals nationally, our firm has built an automated, real-time surveillance app that integrates with existing electronic health records (EHRs) from different companies.

This solution could provide early warning capability, forecast surges, and help providers plan coordinated responses. The EHR-agnostic app will be offered for free this year to the dozens of health systems that use our clinical platform beginning with Geisinger Health System in July. Atrium Health, Community Health Network, Vidant Health, AdventHealth and other health systems have confirmed that they plan to rapidly follow.

Read the full byline here.

Read Part 1 of this two-part series in the Harvard Business Review.

Authors:

  • Michael J. Alkire, Premier President
  • Jonathan R. Slotkin, MD, vice chair of neurosurgery and associate chief medical informatics officer at Geisinger, and chief medical officer of Contigo Health, a Premier company.
  • Scott Weingarten, MD, MPH, consultant to the CEO and Professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai; CEO of Stanson Health, a Premier company, and Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer at Premier.
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