Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Defending the Homeland: The role of data in the war against COVID-19

Clinician with mask looks at computer screen at a hospital. The Joint Trauma System launched the COVID-19 registry in a matter of months to consolidate data collection across all military hospitals and clinics around the world. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daniel R. Betancourt Jr.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

In the war on COVID-19, the Department of Defense will rely on the future development of vaccines and treatments as weapons in its arsenal. Data sets that inform decisions and improve care serve as a key component toward this effort. The staff of the Joint Trauma System at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, lead that effort.

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion,” said Mary Ann Spott, deputy chief of the JTS. Spott helped create DoD’s Trauma Registry in 2006 and the recently launched COVID-19 registry, which will track patient information and treatment outcomes to help inform best practices.

“A registry provides high-quality data that’s collected in a standardized and consistent format,” she explained. “It allows you to make decisions that impact care positively. So you can look at what everyone is doing and pick best of breed and promulgate it through the entire system.” Insights from the trauma registry prompted changes across the DoD in resuscitation and blood transfusions of trauma cases, said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Stacy Shackelford, chief of the JTS. By analyzing data in the trauma registry, researchers found that a blood transfusion received within the first 30 minutes of injury led to increased survival. “This evolved to all special operations medics being trained in blood transfusions and providing blood to carry in aid bags,” she said.

In the same way, the COVID-19 registry could provide critical understanding to make performance improvement guidelines. Working with infectious disease experts from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, the JTS deployed the COVID-19 registry in a matter of months to consolidate data collection across all military hospitals and clinics around the world.

The registry will capture approximately 195 unique data points, including demographics, symptoms, past medical history, lab and radiology tests, contact with known infected patients, treatments, outcomes, and complications. By identifying data points of patients and linking data to specific treatments and outcomes, researchers can draw conclusions and recommendations. Shackelford admits she finds such analysis challenging and complicated. Data must take into account risk factors, which places a burden of responsibility to ensure accurate and meaningful conclusions. Otherwise, she said, you may end up with inaccurate information.

“This registry, which already includes data from 6,510 patients, will support COVID-19 clinical performance improvement and track the epidemiology of the disease,” said Thomas McCaffery, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in a recent announcement. “The data will help research and medical teams, both in the DoD and the civilian sector, provide more accurate insight into future advancements in vaccines and treatments.”

While the registry will collect information on potential drug treatments for COVID-19, the first priority will be to study the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma or CCP in patients, said Shackelford. “The registry also will track the outcomes of patients who receive CCP compared to those who do not – all of which will greatly enhance efforts toward therapeutic treatment development,” McCaffery added. The ability to track patients through the continuum of care represents a unique component of DoD registries. The COVID-19 registry will track patients from the first visit to the achievement of a negative COVID test to the 30-day period after leaving the hospital. As the clinical understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, the registry will adapt to include new treatments as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Shackelford added.

Location information in the registry could help identify potential hot spots and lead to the deployment of military medical units and equipment in response to an outbreak, according to Spott. The system will also flag recovered patients who live within 40 miles of a blood collection center to identify potential CCP donors. For those patients who live more than 60 miles away from a blood center, mobile blood units could move out to secure donations, added Shackelford. The registry may also help identify asymptomatic cases. “One of the important things we are implementing right now is to be able to tie symptom survey results to lab testing,” she added.

In the long term, Spott believes the COVID-19 registry may help with future viral outbreaks. “We have a good infrastructure now; we’ve put a lot of thought and effort into this and we could apply it to other pandemics and also other epidemics,” she said.

Shackelford labeled as key having the full capability of data analysis, performance improvement, and clinical practice guidelines to support decision making by leadership at the highest level on down to unit levels.

“The value of the registry is not just data alone. Just collecting data is essentially not going to change anything, but really linking it to performance improvement guidelines,” she said. “One of our overarching goals at JTS is to establish the framework of a trauma system in every combatant command so we can immediately establish performance improvement in times of war …and this pandemic is a war.”

You also may be interested in...

Army Public Health Center provides update on Long COVID risks

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
COVID19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

JTF Coyote begins pediatric COVID-19 clinics as adult booster vaccination numbers increase

Article Around MHS
11/23/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

USECAF receives insight into COVID19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

Article Around MHS
10/6/2021
A  female doctor poses for a photo.

When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Health Promotion duo optimizes health on Incirlik Air Base

Article Around MHS
9/30/2021
Air Force Capt. Sydney Sloan, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion element chief (right), and Air Force Senior Airman Gloriann Manapsal, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion technician (left), promote making healthy choices at the Sultan’s Inn Dining Facility on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The 39th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion team provides and integrates evidence-based programs to optimize the health and readiness, even during these unprecedented times.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Retired colonel leads Fort Irwin COVID response mission

Article Around MHS
9/28/2021
Army Col. Richard Hopkins, the COVID-19 response coordinator with Weed Army Community Hospital, collects paperwork from a Soldier who received the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination event.

Retired Army Col. Richard Hopkins volunteered under the Army’s COVID-19 Retiree Recall Program to return to service as the COVID-19 response coordinator for Weed Army Community Hospital and Fort Irwin, California.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

ARNORTH military support to FEMA begins in Tennessee, continues in five states

Article Around MHS
9/24/2021
Prepared COVID-19 vaccine shots wait to be administered to an Airman. Members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing were eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccines during Unit Training Assembly here May 2nd, 2021.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approximately 20 military medical personnel deployed to Tennessee to support civilian healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in local hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 can lead to long-term health concerns

Article Around MHS
9/23/2021
Debra Lamb, a 30-year civil service veteran at Ft. Carson, contracted the COVID-19 virus late in 2020 and experienced a harrowing ordeal before partially recovering months later.

Debra Lamb, a 30-year civil service veteran at Ft. Carson, contracted the COVID-19 virus late in 2020 and experienced a harrowing ordeal before partially recovering months later.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 36

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.