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...

The Delta Variant

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic stating that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. The variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low.

Recommended Content:

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

The Delta Variant: Are You Protected?

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic with the title, “Are you Protected?” and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right. States that the Delta variant of the virus is spreading and that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against the Delta Variant. If you've received your first dose, don't forget to get your second dose.

Recommended Content:

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

The Delta Variant: Fact Check

Infographic
6/28/2021
A Fact Check graphic. Features a quote in the center of the graphic and states that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. This variant spreads easily, with increased rates of sickness and hospitalization.

Recommended Content:

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

The Delta Variant: Stop the Spread

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic describing the Delta variant. Includes three bullet points describing the variant and a link to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine and includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right.

The Delta variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low. Visit www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine to learn more.

Recommended Content:

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

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Infographic
5/27/2021
Graphic saying that keeping track of your vaccination card is important. Includes a helpful tips section, a link to www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine, and what to do when you didn’t get your vaccination card or don’t have a copy. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right of the page.

Keep track of your vaccination card. Tips include keeping your card on you and taking a picture of it as a backup copy.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Costs and Documentation | Coronavirus

Is It Allergies or COVID-19?

Infographic
5/11/2021
Infographic that describes the difference between symptoms of allergies and those related to COVID-19

This Infographic provides a chart that outlines how to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms

Recommended Content:

Symptoms of COVID-19 | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

COVID-19 Vaccine: All Adults Eligible Graphic

Infographic
4/22/2021
A navy and gray graphic stating that all eligible and authorized DOD individuals can make a COVID vaccine appointment. Contains a QR code for individuals to use to sign up for an appointment. TRICARE logo is located at the bottom right corner.

Graphic stating that all eligible and authorized DOD individuals can make a COVID vaccine appointment. Contains sign up instructions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Vaccine: All Adults Eligible MTF Option Screensaver2

Infographic
4/22/2021
A screensaver that encourages individuals to check in at their DOD vaccination sites to see appointment availability. Includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right and a link at the bottom of the screensaver for individuals to learn more at www.tricare.mil/VaccineAppointments

A screensaver that encourages individuals to check in at their DOD vaccination sites to see appointment availability.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Vaccine: All Adults Eligible Choices Screensaver

Infographic
4/22/2021
A navy and gray graphic with information on where adults can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Includes a link at the bottom of the graphic for www.tricare.mil/CovidVaccine and also has the TRICARE logo on the bottom right corner.

A screensaver that provides information on where adults can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

VAX Fact Breastfeeding

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Fact Q and A: Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding? It's up to you to decide.  The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to pregnant or breastfeeding women.  If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider may help but is not required.

An infographic answering the question of whether you can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Fact Other Medical Conditions

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Fact: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have other medical conditions? If you have underlying medical conditions, you can choose a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to any ingredients in the shots. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age to reduce risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

An infographic answering the question of whether you can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have underlying medical conditions.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Fact Protection Last

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Fact: How long does a COVID-19 vaccine protect me for? We do not know yet how long protection may last for those who receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  We do know a COVID-19 vaccine may reduce your chances of spreading the illness to others or facing more serious illness, including hospitalization. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

An infographic answering the question of how long the COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Fact Current Infection

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Facts: Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I currently have a positive COVID-19 infection: No. People with a COVID-19 positive test result or illness symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they recover and meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation.  This also applies if you get COVID-19 between a first and second vaccine dose.

An infographic answering the question of whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you currently have a positive COVID-19 infection.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Fact Affect Fertility

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Fact: Does a COVID-19 vaccine affect my fertility? There is currently no evidence of fertility impacts due to COVID-19 vaccines.  If you are trying to conceive or want to get pregnant in the future, you may choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available.

An infographic answering the question of whether the COVID-19 vaccine affects a person's fertility.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Fact Currently Pregnant

Infographic
4/19/2021
VAX Fact: Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I'm currently pregnant? Talk with your healthcare provider to help you decide if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.  Clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines may offer data and outcomes in the future.  The CDC has a smartphone tool called v-safe.  It offers personalized health check-ins that you can enroll in after a vaccination.

An infographic answering the question of whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you're currently pregnant.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

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.