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Public Health Agencies Connect with the Epic Community to Track COVID-19 with Pulse Central

Large-scale, standardized data in Epic helps public health officials track COVID-19 nationwide

Within the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Epic created Pulse Central, a near real-time analytics platform that aggregates de-identified data from 1,200 hospitals using Epic across the U.S. The data are summarized into dozens of COVID-19 metrics to help public health agencies identify at-risk communities and opportunities for intervention.

“The Epic community came together to set standard definitions for key COVID-19 metrics so everyone is measuring the same thing,” said Phil Lindemann, Epic’s vice president of data and analytics. “Public health officials can now get near real-time data that is crucial in fighting this virus.”

Pulse Central provides a standardized set of metrics to measure relevant COVID-19 data points, such as the number of patients tested each day and the number of ventilators available in a given geographic area. Public health officials can view state or county data to monitor how COVID-19 is affecting Americans and view trends on a broad scale.

For example, Pulse Central can project how many patients in a given county are likely to test positive for COVID-19 based on the volume of tests being performed. Testing data can also be used to identify hot spots in a state and across the nation to help prepare for possible future surges of COVID-19 cases. Public health officials can proactively respond to upcoming surges by tracking the number of patients with COVID-19 who are currently in the hospital compared with open hospital beds, and sending resources to counties in need.

Pulse Central’s unique data set is made possible by health systems that gave permission to share their de-identified COVID-19 data to help fight the pandemic. The aggregated data comes directly from the organizations and is updated automatically multiple times a day, easing the burden of manual data entry.

These key metrics are also available to organizations using Epic to help track COVID-19 cases and compare the data across the community. Epic community members can learn more in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper, which is updated regularly with new build and workflows.