Helping emergency departments identify and prepare for future waves of COVID-19

A team led by Dr. Manish Shah, Professor of Emergency Medicine and ICTR Co-Director of the KL2 Career Development Program, will develop an advanced surveillance system to identify future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide training to front-line providers.

With funding from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, collaborators from UW, UW Health, and the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) will establish WIsconsin Real-time Emergency Department surveillance and Response Training (WIRED-RT) as a way to complement existing state and national syndromic surveillance programs by using modern data science techniques and predictive analytics. Dr. Shah notes,

“Even a few days additional alert of an approaching crisis gives front-line healthcare providers, many of whom are located in emergency departments, a headstart on implementing effective interventions. Being proactive can change an overwhelming challenge to a manageable event.

A key part of the WIRED-RT project is leveraging even small advance notice of pandemic events into just-in-time, simulation-based training for providers in the emergency department.”

Amit Acharya, MCRI Executive Director, ICTR Deputy Director for MCRI, and project Co-Investigator, comments,

“In addition to helping us identify future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, the same approach should be applicable to any other public health crisis that manifests in emergency departments, such as opioid overdoses,”

MCRI is an ICTR partner along with the five health sciences schools and college at UW-Madison. Their longstanding expertise in informatics and leveraging novel uses of the electronic health record is a key component of this project. Notably, with its rural patient population, Marshfield has experience with analyzing disease occurrence trends in diffuse populations. Dr. Shah adds,

“We are fortunate to have assembled such a strong team for this project; we have expert collaborators from UW including colleagues at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and College of Engineering, as well as MCRI and UW Health. The web of existing relationships represented means we will be able to make rapid progress in improving our situational responses to crisis events.”

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health has awarded nearly $3 million in COVID-19 Response grants to UW-Madison researchers and community organizations across Wisconsin to address the COVID-19 pandemic including  four co-funded with UW ICTR.

*Original press release from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research here.