The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics announced the launch of a daily data collection and consolidation system for hospitals to provide data of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The system was developed in conjunction with the Health Department and the government’s COVID-19 Medical Task Force, said Institute Executive Director Orville Disdier.
Through this system, epidemiologists from each hospital can “easily and quickly” enter basic data on suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, Disdier said, adding that the data the system requires is necessary to feed the so-called rapid surveillance system.
The system collects the following variables: Sex, age, municipality of residence, date of onset of symptoms, type of exposure, if the person was admitted to the hospital, if the person is on mechanical ventilation, if the person is in intensive care, sample collection date, type of test, test result, if the person died, and date of death, if applicable.
“Given the Health Department’s urgent need for to have a rapid epidemiological surveillance system in hospitals, the Institute offered full assistance,” Disdier said, of the system that was implemented in a week.
“Hospitals now send information in a quick, complete and standardized way about COVID-19 to the Health Department. Rapid surveillance systems are essential to combat any epidemic or pandemic,” Disdier said.
The data that the hospitals enter into the system is consolidated every day, at around noon. After consolidation, Health Department epidemiologists validate the quality of the data and make any necessary edits in consultation with epidemiologists at hospitals.
The Health Department will use the final consolidated and verified data to generate daily statistical reports and for other epidemiological surveillance activities, Disdier explained.
The platform is expected to help the Health Department comply with Law No. 209 of Aug. 28, 2003, which requires it to share its official data generated with the Institute, an aspect with which the agency has not fully met so far, he said.
The law establishes that the Institute is the co-owner of all the information and statistical product that government agencies develop, and that it can add and disseminate such information as it deems appropriate, Disdier added.
“We urge the Health Department to comply with the law and send these and any other data related to COVID-19 to the Institute promptly and daily so that we can provide citizens with complete, reliable, and quick and universal access statistics,” Disdier said.