The NFDI4Health Task Force COVID-19 pursues the overarching goal of strengthening harmonized, cooperative medical, epidemiological and public health research and enabling substantial and rapid information to be provided to the specialist community about relevant research results on COVID-19.
Unlike most other medical initiatives, the NFDI4Health Task Force COVID-19 focuses beyond clinical patient data on the consequences of the pandemic outbreak for public health, such as Morbidity, mortality, access to health care, quality of life and effects of social isolation.
The following goals are pursued:
1. Improve the FAIRness of COVID-19 research data collections
The NFDI4Health Task Force COVID-19 will create a comprehensive inventory of German studies on COVID-19 with structured health data from registers, administrative health databases, primary care, clinical studies including vaccination studies, epidemiological studies and health reporting. This includes the appropriate findability and access to these resources as well as measures for improved data exchange, uniform assessments of data quality and the linking of data records. The foundations are laid for a centralized data catalog with sophisticated search functions and improved data access management. Standardization services will improve the level of interoperability.
2. Promote the timely implementation of harmonized research related to COVID-19
Predictive standardization efforts are essential to ensure the comparability of the results of future studies related to the proliferation of COVID-19 and the health / psychosocial consequences of pandemic control measures. The task force will develop guidelines, training materials and standards, e.g. on data management, survey instruments, the use of routine data, and make it available here and disseminate it in other relevant places.
This is complemented by quality-checked analysis routines and options for interactive web-based data exploration and visualization, which supports the prompt availability of high-quality COVID-19 research results. In addition, the task force will extend the use case ‘Radiomics / imaging AI’ provided by NFDI4Health to COVID-19 patients.
3. Record linkage of various COVID-19 data records
Obviously, data from the same people, especially COVID-19 patients, are being collected in various studies that are currently ongoing. However, structures are lacking that enable this information to be linked. In this regard, the task force will expand the NFDI4Health use case to record linkage and develop a concept for linking the various relevant data sources such as hospital data, outpatient prescription data, sequencing data, image data, sociodemographic and psychosocial data. This concept is supplemented by a data protection concept and a template for informed consent, whereby all material can be downloaded here. To achieve its goals, the NFDI4Health Task Force COVID-19 works closely with other national institutions and initiatives such as the national research network COVID-19, LEOSS, the NAKO health study, the medical informatics initiative and international initiatives such as RDA, FAIRSharing, FAIRDOM or Go Working together at FAIR. The sustainability of all results of this task force is ensured by the NFDI4Health consortium and the sustainability measures described in the NFDI4Health application.