Help us collect Real-World Evidence to evaluate COVID-19 treatments.

In the midst of a rapidly spreading global pandemic, real-world evidence can offer invaluable insight into the most promising treatments, risk factors, and not only predict but suggest how to improve outcomes. Despite today’s environment of instant communication and technological advancement, we have as yet been unable to explore in detail critical aspects of this rapidly spreading infectious disease. This failure results in our inability to develop and apply meaningful insights to enable caregivers to manage the disease more effectively.

The essential indicators that would describe the pandemic more accurately can be obtained using real-world data (RWD). Carefully designed data collection tools can be used to collect data from hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients. The data will be used to enhance our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, identify risk factors relevant for triage, relate to other similar seasonal infections and gain insight into the safety and efficacy of experimental and off-label therapies.

From the scientific side, one approach is to appreciate and capture the value of real-world evidence (RWE) where conducting traditional clinical trials in a rapidly developing situation may simply be impractical and within a timeframe consistent with the need for acquiring meaningful information upon which to act. Generated from analyses of real-world data (RWD), this information can be used globally to help manage this public health crisis and its human and economic consequences.

Toward this end, the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES), a global non-profit collaborative developing systems approaches to improve health science and medicines development (, has partnered with Veracuity, LLC, a biopharmaceutical safety informatics and analytics firm ( Together, we are working with a variety of like-minded organizations to implement simple tools for near real-time collection and analysis of data from healthcare providers around the world to provide information necessary to provide meaningful feedback and recommendations to meet their needs as they care for these patients who are often critically ill.

Knowledge derived from a focused data collection effort will enable clinicians to adjust rapidly clinical protocols and discontinue interventions that turn out to be ineffective or harmful. Real-world data collection techniques can rely on routinely collected indicators without placing an additional burden on practitioners. The systematic collection of real-world evidence can improve the odds of survival and full recovery for every new patient as the system learns from past experiences.

The tool has been validated by a focus group of physicians actively caring for COVID-19 patients. The focus group has also provided feedback on the ease with which the survey can be completed in the course of their busy clinical lives using information and well-established rating scales that are already routinely used in clinical practice. Data can readily and securely be captured by existing technology and made available for analyses as a global knowledge resource – as can recognition of patterns otherwise going unnoticed in smaller and less systematic datasets.