Companies link up for BigCOVIData study to boost research with electronic health record data

Savana, a medical research company that works with ‘deep real-world evidence’, and BREATHE – The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health, have created a new partnership to boost the use of electronic health record (EHR) data in respiratory research.

This new collaboration hopes to ‘accelerate the use of data from de-identified EHRs’ to monitor disease progression and outcomes in UK patients that have been hospitalised with COVID-19, as part of the BigCOVIData study.

Savana’s technology applies AI via Natural Language Processing (NLP) and ‘deep learning’ techniques to analyse structured and unstructured information in EHRs. While BREATHE, which is comprised of clinicians and academics based across the UK – including at the University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London – works on using respiratory health data in ‘cutting-edge research and innovation’. One of seven UK-wide hubs, it’s funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered through Health Data Research UK (HDR UK).

BigCOVIData is believed to be the first international study of its kind that’s applying Big Data, AI, and NLP to ‘define the clinical characteristics and predictive factors’ for the progression of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in English, French, German and Spanish-speaking countries.

The study will ‘provide access to high quality, detailed, routine secondary care data across multiple sites, including previously inaccessible free-text information’. Using that infrastructure, it’s aim is to predict COVID-19 progression and outcomes, to help hospitals prepare for and monitor future waves of the virus.

Professor Jenni Quint, BREATHE Deputy Director and Chief Investigator for BigCOVIData UK, said: “In partnership with Savana, we can access de-identified patient information from hospital records at a level of scale and detail never seen before in the UK.

“As well as providing us with a vital insight into COVID-19 progression and outcomes – a hugely valuable tool as we continue to face waves of the virus across the country – the technology can also be applied to the many other respiratory diseases which impact lives across the UK.”

Dr Ignacio Medrano, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Savana, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with BREATHE in the first and, what we hope for us will be, many more partnerships of this nature in the UK. Our partnership creates the opportunity to attract exciting, cutting edge research projects from leading researchers and institutions.”

De-identified data from the study will be made available for secondary research through BREATHE, in partnership with Trusted Research Environment SAIL Databank, to safeguard both the privacy and security of patient data.

Visit BREATHE’s hub, or find out more about the study online. You can also follow #BigCOVIData on Twitter to discover the latest developments.