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Introducing National COVID Cohort Collaborative for Data Science-driven EHR Analysis

Many countries with advanced data science capabilities are using COVID Cohort data. The COVID database is a powerful repository for the central government to plan its preparedness in the healthcare sector, especially for susceptible age-groups who haven’t received any vaccination. Answering to sporadic calls for a centralized database of COVID cohort, the US government has announced the launch of the National COVID Cohort Collaborative or N3C. N3C is an open-source data repository built using advanced Medtech Insights: Tackling Surges In Severe COVID-19 Cases In Africa and Machine Learning foundations.

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According to MIT, the N3C COVID Cohort database has become one of the largest collections of covid patient records in the world.

The N3C initiative is open to academic researchers, clinicians, and citizen scientists who can rely on the COVID Cohort database to study how different factors influence healthcare segments.

The pandemic may have shaken the whole world, but it also influenced the way data and AI / Machine learning could be used to identify, study, monitor and analyze the role of discrete factors such as Age, Race, and Sex to understand the extent of COVID-19 pandemic across the population.

The N3C initiative pulls data from various sources, including healthcare centers, universities, and research groups. These include:

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  • Advocate Health Care Network
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Aurora Health Care Regional
  • Boston University Medical Campus
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • MedStar Health Research Institute
  • Metro Health, and so on.

The data is available with Github at National-COVID-Cohort-Collaborative / Data-Ingestion-and-Harmonization

Challenges of Working with N3C

N3C still requires sources to share their raw, unstructured data to the analysts who then clean up and standardize this data to meet COVID Cohort benchmarks. This is not only a time-consuming effort but also riddled with challenges related to data privacy. N3C poses serious questions to states that are yet to pass data privacy laws. Without centralized data privacy laws to govern COVID cohort data, N3C faces technical and social obstacles.

With healthcare analytics, the N3C platform could benefit all participants to securely integrate electronic patient records (EHR) across states and compare these to build a highly secured and super-beneficial healthcare infrastructure for everyone.

Source: N3C Dashboard / MIT

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