Coronavirus data confusion points to hospitals’ big future challenge


Originally published in Fierce Healthcare

By Jon Ault

More than five months since COVID-19 emerged in central China, we still lack reliable data on how many people have been infected and the rate of new infections, let alone an accurate accounting of the dead. Limited testing in most countries means we have little idea of how many people have the virus, and no precise picture of the fatality rate.

That means governments are to varying degrees flying blind when trying to decide the appropriate policy responses. John P.A. Ioannidis, M.D., professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford University School of Medicine, has called the pandemic a “once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.”

All this confusion stems from the same problem: the lack of a single source of reliable data about the virus and how it spreads, leaving the field open to a maelstrom of numbers and spin from governments, media and experts.

While the pandemic has put a lot of short-term pressure on hospitals, this glaring lack of authoritative data is a reminder of the big long-term challenge they face in improving efficiency and making the value-based care model work.

Jon Ault is a principal with Eide Bailly’s Data Analytics practice.

Read the full article in Fierce Healthcare.