A COVID-19 risk prediction tool, developed with support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) has won the Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Healthcare Data Analytics.
The QCovid® COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment tool was developed by a cross-organisational team and rolled across NHS England.
Awarded jointly by the Health Foundation and the Royal Statistical Society, the Florence Nightingale Award recognises practitioners in applied health care analytics who have gone the extra mile in delivering innovative improvements for the health care system.
This year’s award has been given to the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment team, made up of members from across the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Digital, NHS England, the Office for National Statistics, Public Health England, University of Oxford, NERVTAG, Oxford University Innovation, and the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.
The Oxford BRC providing initial funding to build the infrastructure that enabled the development of QCovid.
The project was led by Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox in 2020 after the Chief Medical Officer for England tasked a group of academics and clinicians with developing a tool to predict who might be at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox and colleagues in the department’s Primary Care Epidemiology Group studied the anonymised health records of more than eight million people using GP records from the QResearch database, hospital records and mortality data.
The analysis revealed several risk factors, including age, ethnicity, gender and deprivation, which were used to create the QCovid® model, which estimates someone’s combined risk of catching coronavirus and being admitted to hospital. The tool was designed to assess the general population, inform people about their risk level, and support them with decisions about behaviours, in consultation with a clinician.
The model was incorporated into a national COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment and has since been rolled out to every adult in England. The risk assessment has been running regularly since March 2021 and ensures that at-risk adults in England can be identified, prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination and added to the national ‘shielded patients list’.
Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: “The pandemic continues to highlight the critical role that data and analytics increasingly play in protecting and improving the health of everybody in our society. The COVID19 Population Risk Assessment team’s work powerfully demonstrates that high quality analytics can make a real difference to patients’ lives on a national scale. The level of collaboration, careful navigation of obstacles and the focus on addressing health inequalities on this project are outstanding.”