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the OpenSAFELY platform: using electronic health records to identify factors associated with COVID-19 hospital death

What risk factors are associated with dying from COVID-19?  We’ve heard about certain underlying conditions and comorbidities that seem to be associated with getting the disease more severely.  But what can we learn as more data comes in about these and other factors?  Do we know why BAME ethnicity appears to be associated with more severe disease?

Scientists have developed a platform called OpenSAFELY, which analyses existing NHS electronic health records to look for patterns in hospitalised patients who die from COVID-19.  So far the team have analysed data from 17.4 million UK adults between 1 February and 25 April 2020, which included 5,707 deaths involving COVID-19.

Journalists dialled in to this virtual press briefing to hear from the scientists about the OpenSAFELY platform and how it works, and what their findings show so far, and were able to ask questions of them.

* Please note this is unpublished research, it has not yet been through peer review and has not been published in a scientific journal – so this is early data. *


Speakers included:

Prof Liam Smeeth, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, NHS doctor and co-lead on the study

Dr Ben Goldacre, Director of the DataLab in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, NHS doctor and co-lead on the study


An SMC Roundup of comments accompanied this briefing

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