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Research project: COVID-19 virtual hospital Prognostic study (COVPRO)

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on societies around the globe. New approaches to managing people with suspected COVID-19 in the community have been developed, including virtual hospital wards. This study is using data from patients admitted to a virtual hospital to identify baseline factors associated with an adverse prognosis.

This study aims to use data collected as part of usual NHS care to help understand the risk factors for adverse outcomes, such as need for admission to hospital, prolonged illness, and death, in patients with suspected COVID-19 illness who are being regularly monitored at home by NHS clinicians.

Clinicians from Watford General Hospital have been running a ‘virtual ward’ for patients with suspected COVID-19 who have been assessed as being suitable for this service. The service involves collecting data about the patient and providing them with regular remote (telephone) follow-up to monitor their illness. Data collected as part of this service, and similar data from other NHS services that are providing remote monitoring, can be used to help identify features related to the patient or their illness that can help predict adverse outcomes.

We propose using data about these patients, without having access to directly identifying personal information like name, date of birth or address, to try and identify factors that are associated with the need to be admitted to hospital, and other adverse outcomes, and if possible develop a clinical prediction rule for this setting. Directly identifying personal data will be kept by the relevant NHS institutions and not shared with the research team at the University of Southampton. The data will be kept secure and all relevant data protection laws will be adhered to.

The findings of this study could help clinicians and other healthcare professionals identify those at greatest risk, which in turn can help in communicating risk and shared decision-making about management strategies with patients, as well as designing services.

Lead Investigator: Professor Nick Francis

Duration: 12 months (until April 2021)

Funder: unfunded

Contact: N Francis (

Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
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