Earlier this week, the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines launched its new COVID-19 Tracker. The revamped tracker features additional information on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in the country, COVID-19 testing, health facilities, and availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs). The public can now view data on the laboratory testing capacities of the DOH accredited laboratories including the total number of tests and unique individuals tested.
The public can now also have a snapshot of the country’s health system’s capacity in responding to the pandemic based on data collected from the DOH DataCollect application.
The DataCollect app gathers daily data from hospitals and stakeholders such as essential resources and supplies, availability of hospital beds, isolation rooms, ICU beds and mechanical ventilators, and human resource needs. The application will also be able to accurately calculate the projected need of PPEs, and link to our logistics offices for delivery of supplies. This will facilitate easier and faster tracking of reports between DOH offices. Under the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” or RA 11332, all of DOH’s partner hospitals are mandated to implement this system of data collection.
DOH worked with epidemiologist Mr. Nel Jason Haw and data science consulting firm Thinking Machines in the creation of its new COVID-19 tracker.
THE LARGER TREND
Having a data platform or dashboard to monitor and track the development of COVID-19 cases can help public health authorities plan and intervene according to the needs of the health system(s). In the UK, the NHS is working with US tech companies Palantir, Microsoft and Amazon to develop a data platform to inform the COVID-19 response, according to a report by Healthcare IT News.
ON THE RECORD
“The new COVID-19 tracker is not perfect and we hope to add more information in the succeeding days, but it is our fervent hope that this responds to the information needs and the call for transparency from our citizens,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. “Right now, health facility data is only limited to around 550 reporting hospitals and infirmaries so we call on our hospitals to submit information through our DataCollect App to help us protect our healthcare workers in beating COVID-19,” the Secretary added.
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