The NHS is ratcheting up its use of patient data as it battles the coronavirus, with reports that it is working with a number of technology companies on a new system to help manage resources in responding to the pandemic.
According to the BBC, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to sign off a project to use anonymised data from the NHS 111 service in allocating resources. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, data analysis platform provider Palantir and AI and machine learning specialist Faculty are all reportedly involved in the initiative.
Microsoft has reportedly built a major data store on its Azure platform to support the project, AWS is providing cloud computing resources and Palantir is providing its Foundry software to pull the data together.
The objective is to provide the NHS with interactive dashboards on subjects such as what ventilators are being used and where, levels of staff sickness, the capacity of A&E departments, how long many patients are occupying hospital beds, and the length of stays.
The aim of the programme is to give health workers a better understanding of how the virus is spreading so they can target resources at emerging hotspots and divert patients to places best able to care for them.
Data science and tech firms are now on the front-line of the fight against Covid-19; earlier this week King’s College London, health data science company Zoe, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals joined forces for the launch of a new symptom tracking app in the UK, designed for all consumers whether they have caught the virus or not.
Meanwhile, the National Health Service’s technology, digital and data unit, NHSX, has called on companies to develop digital tools to support people self-isolating during the outbreak.