COVID-19 is Complex, as is COVID-19 Open Data

This post was originally published on the Healthdata.gov blog by Kristen Honey, Chief Data Scientist and Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), HHS; Amy Gleason, Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup Lead, U.S. Digital Service; and Kevin Duvall, Deputy Chief Data Officer (CDO), Office of the CDO, HHS

 

Due to demand, please access the data files here:
– Download: https://healthdata.gov/sites/default/files/reported_hospital_capacity_admissions_facility-level_weekly_average_timeseries_20201207.csv
– Data Dictionary: https://healthdata.gov/covid-19-reported-patient-impact-and-hospital-capacity-facility-data-dictionary

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published COVID-19 hospital data at the facility level for each week, going back to August 1st 2020. This information was previously aggregated by state. This new data and its data quality are paramount to the U.S. pandemic response. COVID-19 models, analyses, and predictive analytics can only be as good as the data they ingest. By sharing these new hospital COVID-19 capacity data at the facility-level with the public, the opportunity exists to improve data quality.

This data is tremendously complex and is the result of substantial ongoing efforts by hospital, state, and Federal personnel who collaborate to meet daily data reporting requirements. This ongoing collaboration has steadily improved data quality and reporting consistency in recent weeks, even as the content of hospital capacity data has become more complex.

We opted not to have perfect be the enemy of good, so these datasets will have imperfections. To continue improving the quality of data, we welcome your feedback. When more people access and use the data, we have more collective ability to identify gaps, errors, or other problems with these COVID-19 datasets. All stakeholders — local community coordinators, data scientists, data journalists, and healthcare researchers — are encouraged to download, analyze, study the datasets, and share your feedback with HealthData.gov.

We also encourage you to visit and contribute to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about this hospital-level data. These living FAQs are crowdsourced from the public, so your contributions will improve these FAQs over time.

Commitment to Transparency and Open Data

By opening COVID-19 datasets, our collective goal is to accelerate scientific and public health insights and shorten the time it takes for COVID-19 information and solutions to save lives. Our HHS efforts are enabling a data-driven ecosystem for everyone. Based on public feedback and interaction with the COVID-19 datasets, this open-data ecosystem will evolve while guided by these principles: Transparency. Sharing. Privacy. Security. Community.

Today’s unprecedented pandemic demands near-real-time data sharing across government, across diverse sectors, and with the public. HHS is aggressively responding to this call-to-action by responsibly unlocking information wherever our societal benefits of data access outweigh the potential risks. This is a collaborative effort led by HHS Office of the Chief Data Officer, within the Office of the Chief Information Officer, in close coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local/state/tribal governments, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and the White House U.S. Digital Service.

Beyond the whole-of-government response, COVID-19 necessitates a whole-of-America response. Your public input so far has enabled HHS to identify and prioritize information of highest value. We appreciate the hard-working journalists, data scientists, academic healthcare researchers, business innovators, and Americans who are giving time, energy, and insights to help us responsibly open data related to the novel coronavirus.

The data reporting is one part of the whole-of-government response and is to ensure that every patient requiring hospitalization receives the care they need. Patients should not be discouraged from seeking hospital care based on their interpretation of the data. Hospitals have protocols in place to keep patients safe from exposure and to ensure all patients are prioritized for care. By working together across sectors, we are harnessing all capabilities and resources to unleash the power of U.S. data for the COVID-19 response.

Together, we can combat COVID-19.

Disclaimer: Please visit the CDC’s website on COVID-19 for the most up-to-date information and COVID-19 guidance.

By Kristen Honey, HHS, Amy Gleason, US Digital Service, & Kevin Duvall, HHS
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