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NHS England uses new data model for Covid-19 risk

17/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS Digital has developed a new data model to identify adults with multiple risk factors that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Covid-19 cells

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that the QCovid risk prediction model has now been independently validated by the Office for National Statistics and is thought to be the only one of its type in the world to meet the high standards of evidence and assurance.

It added that up to 1.7 million patients have now been identified and will added to the Shielded Patient List and prioritised by NHS England for vaccination. This extends to those aged as young as 19.

The model is based on research by a subgroup of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), an expert committee within the DHSC.

This found there are several health and personal factors – such as age, ethnicity and body mass index – that contribute to risk from the coronavirus, and has been turned into the QCovid model by a team at the University of Oxford. The development used anonymised data from more than 8 million adults.

In turn, NHS Digital has used this to develop the population risk assessment model, which will be updated to take account of new information as the pandemic progresses..

The research has been published in the British Medical Journal.

Further protection

Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said: “For the first time, we are able to go even further in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.

“This new model is a tribute to our health and technology researchers. The model’s data driven approach to medical risk assessment will help the NHS identify further individuals who may be at high risk from Covid-19 due to a combination of personal and health factors.

“This action ensures those most vulnerable to Covid-19 can benefit from both the protection that vaccines provide, and from enhanced advice, including shielding and support, if they choose it.”

Image from iStock, AltoClassic

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