Federal COVID-19 Insights Partnership aims to boost data-driven response

A joint project of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Energy, the initiative will leverage the DOE's artificial intelligence and high-performance computing capabilities to gain analytics insights more quickly.
By Mike Miliard
11:39 AM

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs will be working with the Department of Energy on the new COVID-19 Insights Partnership, a new data sharing and research initiative formed to combat COVID-19.

Through the COVID-19 Insights Partnership, HHS and VA will leverage DOE's high-performance computing and artificial intelligence power to amp up their analytics capabilities

The first focus is on vaccine and therapeutic development, according to the agencies, as well as research on outcomes, virology and other aspects of the pathogen.

The United States' fastest supercomputer, known as Summit, will help speed the research by running large-scale, complex analyses on troves of health data, the departments said. Located at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the machine is able to process massive integrated datasets, and will help COVID-19 researchers find new approaches to treatment faster.

"The volume and quality of the data HHS has on COVID-19 has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent months," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "The Department of Energy's world-class resources will help us derive new insights from the data we gather to help patients and protect our country."

The new partnership is the most recent instance of the government putting leading-edge computing power to work. Others include the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, through which industry, government and academic organizations are collaborating toward faster vaccine and therapeutic development.

"Our nation's understanding of COVID-19 has already benefited greatly from our world-leading high-performance computing and artificial intelligence resources, and we look forward to continuing our coordination across Federal departments and agencies in the fight against this virus," said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette in a statement.

"Veterans served this country by putting on the uniform and protecting American interests overseas, and now their health data will help us win the fight against COVID-19 here at home," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "President Trump is marshalling all the resources he has available in the Federal government to fight the virus, and Veterans should be proud of the role they're playing."

Actionable Intelligence

This month, we look at lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic on how data is put to work informing patient care decisions and population health.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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