Robert Kneschke -

Regenstrief Secures CDC Grant for Long COVID-19 Research Using HIE Data

Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University will leverage data from the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC) HIE to develop a comprehensive, population-based surveillance system for long COVID-19.

Research scientists from Regenstrief Institute have received a CDC grant to detect trends linked to lingering symptoms of COVID-19, known as long COVID-19, using health information exchange (HIE) data.

The five-year grant, expected to total $9 million, aims to help develop one of the country's first comprehensive, population-based surveillance systems for long COVID-19.

Research scientists will utilize the public health informatics and surveillance structure of the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), one of the largest HIEs in the nation, and the Regenstrief Notifiable Condition Detector.

Researchers will mine data from EHRs statewide to better estimate the incidence and prevalence of persistent COVID-19 symptoms and help measure outcomes in populations affected by long COVID.

The researchers will also enroll children, adolescents, and adults in the study to track the disease course of recent infections and gain an accurate reading of the individuals who have survived the virus.

"Long COVID conditions include a wide range of serious health consequences that occur more than four weeks after initial viral infection," Shaun Grannis, MD, MS, Regenstrief vice president for data and analytics, said in a public statement. "Clinicians seek to know more about them and what to expect when patients show up with them for treatment."

"Anecdotal information about long COVID abounds, but what we need is accurate, comprehensive scientific evidence," added Grannis, who also serves as a professor of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. "Our study will provide critical information for public health, patients, and the clinicians who care for people with long COVID."

The CDC grant also supports the training of junior scientists who will join a future public health workforce with skills in public health informatics and data science.

"We believe that the data will help us identify the most affected groups and geographic regions with higher disease burden, discern where health disparities exist, and highlight potential barriers to care," said Brian Dixon, PhD, MHA, interim director of the Regenstrief Institute Center for Biomedical Informatics.

"What we learn from Indiana will hopefully lead to innovative approaches for monitoring and treating post-covid conditions nationally," said Dixon, who also serves as a professor of epidemiology at the Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Grannis and Dixon are the principal investigators of the CDC grant. Regenstrief research scientists David Haggstrom, MD, MAS; Babar Khan, MD, MS; Colin Rogerson, MD, MPH; and others will work on the project as well. Ashley Wiensch, MPH, PMP, manager of Regenstrief's Public Health Informatics Program, will coordinate study logistics.

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