Right now there is no targeted treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The use of data from the NHS might change that.
Without a targeted treatment, clinicians need to treat COVID-19 based on the symptoms presenting in each patient as well as being aware of their existing co-morbidities (such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes) which may worsen their COVID-19 complications.
Researchers will now use data from NHS Digital to help find the most efficient treatment for each patient.
This project, called The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 (RECOVERY) will be trialled by scientists at the University of Oxford.
Data sets from NHS Digital including Secondary Uses Services (SUS+), will be used in the process to help find the most effective potential treatment. According to the press release, this will help ease the burden on NHS staff during the pandemic.
A wider set of data from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and other sources will also be applied to help determine the most effective treatment especially in those patients who already suffer from other health conditions.
How will this system work?
This project is part of several services being developed, enabling researchers to undertake clinical trials through NHS DigiTrials Health and Data Research Hub which help experts collaborate.
The aim of the system is to help several patients in the UK to participate in clinical trials to find new treatments.
These trial results will determine who many future patients will be treated, including those with co-morbidities and chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and asthma.
According to Tom Denwood, Executive Director of Data, Insights and Statistics at NHS Digital, the data from NHS Digital has an important role in finding new, effective treatments during the pandemic. This will enable staff to make the best data-driven decisions to offer effective care for patients.
The RECOVERY project will also help lighten the burden on hospital staff by helping them with reliable, readily available evidence, according to Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford.
According to him, this will also help determine the best outcome from clinical trials.