COVID-19: 360 Is Here For You. Read More

Those willing to access de-identified patient data repositories for the purpose of battling COVID-19 by researchers can now do so, all thanks to the move by EHR and data vendors to allow access.

New Phase For Covid-19 Research

To make this possible, identifiers shouldn’t appear in the patient’s health information. Identifiers consist of medical transcription of the necessary information that can help to identify individuals.

Identifiers Include:

  • Names
  • Mortality rate
  • Phone number
  • Social security number
  • Geographic information such as postal address and ZIP code

Patients have started to embrace the need to share their data for research. Further, a study in the JAMA Network Open showed that only 3.7% were up for sharing their personal information, while 72.9% were willing to share their data.

The health industry is facing a critical time because of the spread of COVID-19. As all efforts are doubling towards containing the disease, health data operators are taking full advantage of the patients’ preferences. To capitalize on this, technology and health data giants are delivering the data to researchers.

To justify their move, EHR vendors say the data access will help with epidemiological studies and research and trials for possible COVID-19 treatments.


Cerner is such a health data giant that believes in the significant role of health data in global research. Its president, Donald Trigg says the COVID-19 pandemic his compelled his team to double their efforts on finding critical solutions. He further notes that if they move from crisis response to recovery, they’ll have taken part in delivering the promise on creating a ‘learning health network’ to faster usher in the new face of discovery.

Cerner’s HealtheDataLab

Cerner’s HealtheDataLab is under the control of Amazon Web Services with its de-identified data in the same place. The data consists of the medical transcriptions of demographics of Coronavirus that is essential in fighting its spread.

Last year, for instance, the data helped Cerner and AWS curb hospital re-admission and determined why patients were making returns to the hospital.

Cerner’s Commitment to granting clinicians with more data is immense. Another analytics company, Healthy Catalyst, is doing the same.

Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst has a Touchstone, a platform with the medical transcription of more than 80 million patient records, which have helped answer critical questions related to COVID-19.

The company sources its data from 20 EHR vendors. They use the same to find out how the present treatment methods can impact the outcomes of patients. They also get insights from surveillance, planning, and treatments.

The rich platform contains lots of details, giving viewers a chance to access such healthcare data as orders, medications, and therapies.

As Sadiqa Mahmood, the vice president and GM Health Catalyst’s Life Sciences Business, puts it, the two strategies key in fighting COVID-19 both require a vast amount of data. He further states better testing and therapeutic management options will help provide better care.

Another group also partnered to work on a COVID-19 research database with de-identified data as the repository for use by researchers and lawmakers. This database aims at uncovering EHR and acts as a catalyst for COVID-19 research.

To curb the spread of COVID-19, access to de-identified data is critical.