A new health worker data collection campaign, supported in part by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is tracking the physical, psychological, and occupational effects on frontline medical staff treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Health Worker Data Alliance created a confidential, HIPPA-compliant, web-based survey that collects self-reported data from frontline health workers in weekly intervals. The survey link can be texted out by each hospital’s administrators one time, and their workforce can elect to participate. All data is independently collected, contains identifiers that can only be accessed by the researchers, and takes four minutes to complete.
“Health workers are three times more likely to contract COVID-19,” said Maria Demopoulos, project director and Founder of Athe Consulting. “This is an alarming rate. And even after the curve flattens, they will continue to be exposed for a long time. But having information on how quickly they become sick, how long they are staying home, and tracking their mental health can enable the healthcare community to receive better support so they, in turn, can provide the best care to those in our communities battling COVID-19.”
While hospitals and the broader health community have raced to prepare facilities and health workers to diagnose and care for patients with COVID-19, personal health and well-being data from these practitioners has not been systematically tracked.
The results, to be presented free of charge to organizational participants on a weekly basis, will equip hospital administrators with information for how best to use their most valuable and limited resource: their workforce.
For those institutions with high levels of participation, data will be analyzed at the institutional level and shared without personal identifiers with the institution’s administrators to give them key insights into how COVID-19 is impacting their workforce. The data from all participants will be anonymous and aggregated at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level and made available to the broader public health community to strengthen insights at the city and regional levels without identifying individual institutions.
The project will better inform the battle against the virus, especially in communities who are preparing for the surge.
“This effort is vital as it will provide hospital administrators and health associations indicators on their staff or membership that highlight their physical and mental health conditions and needs, including burnout,” said Rebekah Levin, Director of Evaluation for the McCormick Foundation.