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Foto: National Cancer Institute (cc, via Unsplash)

Amsterdam UMC to use database to inform difficult choices at IC

Marleen Hoebe,
1 april 2020 - 12:18

Scientists at the Amsterdam UMC are collecting data from corona patients to understand how many people end up in intensive care (IC) and which treatments help best.

Using a large database with medical data, the scientists at the Amsterdam UMC, Maastricht UMC+, the UvA and the Vrije Universiteit hope to find insights that will help in the fight against the coronavirus. Their database went live this week. 

The hospitals could also use the model to check whether the IC units can cope in terms of occupancy

While patient data is normally stored in an electronic file, the data of corona patients will now added to the database. Neurologist Martijn Beudel says inputs include, ‘How fast do patients breathe? What is their heart rate? Do they need ventilation? Are they obese? We hope to recognise patterns, such as the likelihood that an ill person will have to go to the IC.’ Once a pattern has been identified, scientists can run a prediction model. ‘This enables the doctor to decide better which treatments will work.’


Because it’s a public health crisis, it’s not necessary to ask patients for permission to use their data. The data cannot, however, be tracked to individuals; and patients can also object. There are around forty patients in the database but the aim is to collect ‘data from hundreds to feed the algorithms.’


The hospitals could also use the model to check whether the IC units can cope in terms of occupancy. And it could be helpful when difficult choices have to be made. ‘You can predict how likely it is that an ill person will recover. This is particularly important to know in times of scarcity.’