NEW DELHI: Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the government has finally launched a project to develop a National COVID-19 Clinical Registry to collect standardised data regarding clinical and laboratory features, treatments, and outcomes of hospitalized infected patients in India.
On Thursday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) urged dedicated Covid hospitals and health centres across the country to join the project and declared the name of 15 hospitals that will act as mentor institutions for their assigned states.
The New Indian Express had reported on July 11 that a direction by the National COVID Task Force to the ICMR to study the clinical features of coronavirus patients in the Indian context and their diagnostic and prognostic value in different age and gender groups was yet to be followed.
“There is a pressing need for collection of systematic data on clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory investigations, management protocols, clinical course of COVID-19 disease, disease spectrum and outcomes of patients,” said the ICMR on Thursday.
“Such data will serve as an invaluable tool for formulating appropriate patient management strategies, predicting disease severity, patient outcomes etc.”
The NCRC—a joint project by the ICMR, Union Health Ministry and AIIMS, Delhi will aim at collecting good quality real time clinical data to inform evidence-based clinical practice, research, formulating guidelines and policy making.
The exercise will also aim to study the frequency, clinical and laboratory features, treatments, and outcomes of COVID-19 related multisystem inflammatory disorder in children and adolescents by analyzing the national registry and to utilize data to answer research questions on the infectious disease.
Commenting on the development, some experts meanwhile stressed that it would be important to use standards for clinical terminology mapping such as SNOMED CT so that Indian clinical data can also contribute meta-analysis at a global level.
“SNOMED CT is a standard clinical terminology mapping tool,” explained public health researcher Dr Oommen John.
“For example, when one hospital calls something angina another one throbbing chest pain, it is all mapped as pain related to cardiac cause. This tool provides a standardized way to represent clinical phrases captured by the clinician and enables automatic interpretation of these details.”
Meanwhile, the government said that the project will also look at issues such as the natural course of disease, disease spectrum, prognostic and risk factors, and outcome data such as medications and health systems.
It also said that the registry will serve as a platform for additional clinical research studies in selected sites and will help collect follow-up data of discharged COVID-19 patients, if possible.