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Predictive Analytics Tool Forecasts Future COVID-19 Surges

The predictive analytics tool can help accelerate response times for businesses, government officials, and healthcare organizations.

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) has launched its COVID-19 Index, a predictive analytics tool that will help leaders prepare for future surges of coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Index will enable communities and healthcare organizations to see where cases of the virus are expected to surge and allow them to focus their resources on areas most impacted by COVID-19. The tool could help improve and speed response times from government agencies and other officials, as well as help healthcare organizations prepare for increased volumes of patients.

"We have reached a place where predictive analytics will guide decisions to keep our diverse communities safe from the threat COVID, diabetes, cancer, or sickle cell," said Gary A. Puckrein, PhD, President and CEO of NMQF.

The COVID-19 Index integrates historical data beginning in March 2020 with datasets from public and private sources. This combination of forecasts and historical data is available by ZIP code and higher geographies, such as state, county, metropolitan statistical areas, and congressional and state legislative districts.

The COVID-19 Index presents data in a variety of accessible formats, including disease-specific maps, weekly COVID reports, webinars, a podcast, and infographics. Users can also view data through tweets, APIs, chart books, and other summary analyses. Each of these formats will offer early warnings to protect the public and direct more efficient deployment of resources.

Leaders can use the COVID-19 Index to see a map of localized viral trends that forecasts viral surges before they reach a critical stage. Organizations can use the map to focus their risk mitigation efforts where they are most needed. This could help areas more effectively manage their resources.

Additionally, leaders can use the map to see monoclonal antibody infusion centers, which will show eligible high-risk patients and potential patients in surging areas where they can seek treatment. Research has shown that COVID-19 antibody medicines are most effective when administered close to diagnosis, so having this information available in advance will help inform a coronavirus preparedness plan if one is needed.

With the launch of the COVID-19 Index, NMQF is partnering with Regeneron, Congressional Black Caucus Institute, East Bay Community Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, and others.

NMQF is also collaborating with 17 minority-serving federally qualified health clinics and community-based organizations.

"At Regeneron, we share the National Minority Quality Forum's commitment to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 resources, including public health information that will help prevent the spread of disease and novel COVID-19 medicines in case people do end up becoming infected," said Leah Lipsich, PhD, Vice President of Strategic Program Direction at Regeneron.

"We are proud to support the new COVID-19 Index and help equip communities—particularly minority and underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted—to reduce the potentially devastating effects of this disease. The use of historical data and predictive modeling, combined with the power of scientific discovery that has led to effective and well-studied new vaccines and medicines, will help end the COVID-19 pandemic."

The COVID-19 Index addresses the lack of information that has contributed to the disproportionate impact of the virus on minority and underserved communities. NMQF noted that most public reporting on the virus doesn’t offer actionable information that could help these communities, further contributing to health disparities and inequities.

"As part of our commitment to transforming a system that has denied opportunity and access to communities of color, the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) is delighted to be a part of a forward-looking initiative directing a needed resource to the people who have been hardest hit by COVID-19," said James Head, CEO of EBCF.

Future versions of the Index will feature added filters that easily identify minority communities that are currently underreported in other COVID-19 reporting systems. Although these communities have experienced higher risks of infection, hospitalizations, and mortality, they were not prioritized in the provisioning of care.

The COVID-19 Index will provide the opportunity for public-private partnerships to reduce the spread of the virus and implement more efficient disease management strategies.

"COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans. This project seeks to share accurate information by trusted messengers as it provides resources to communities of color in need. Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI) is looking forward to using, and sharing the Index," said Vanessa Griddine-Jones, Executive Director at CBCI.

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