Leveraging Lab Insights To Improve Short- and Long-Term Response To COVID-19
By Brad Bostic, CEO, hc1.
When I founded hc1 a decade ago, I believed that every patient should be treated as a unique individual. We built the hc1 Platform because we saw that if every individual’s laboratory data–which drives 70% of the diagnostic and therapeutic decisions–could be organized intelligently, we could unlock an unprecedented level of clinical decision support to personalize and improve care for all patients.
We knew that the platform would effectively lay the foundation for targeted pharmacogenomics and precision prescribing techniques. What we did not know at the time was that the decision to place our stake in the promise of lab insights would ultimately help drive an improved public health response to an unprecedented crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Coalition Is Born
From the earliest days of the pandemic, demand for greater transparency into COVID-19 data was high while the fluid nature of public health reporting impacted the ability to make well-informed decisions. As a result, local public health and healthcare officials were simultaneously overwhelmed with data and underwhelmed with the timely information and critical insights to help ensure optimal decisions around mitigation strategies.
The reality is that the state and national data relied upon by many public health officials offers limited proactive insight into the ebb and flow of the virus at the state and local levels. This remains as true today as it was in the earliest stages of the pandemic.
Consider the following:
- On July 24, 2020, Florida’s statewide COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 10,000. Yet Okaloosa county in Northwest Florida reported just 3 positive new cases that day, while Polk County in central Florida reported 55 and Broward County in Southeast Florida reported 29
- On Jan. 29, 2021, California recorded 20,138 new cases. Of those, 6,452 were reported in Los Angeles County. Meanwhile, San Mateo County reported just 277 new cases and Contra Costa County reported just 323.
In both instances, the local response in counties with higher infection rates should be quite different from those with significantly lower rates. Yet without insights offering public health officials a glimpse into the future, the default response was often cookie cutter actions guided by state-level decisions.