Cleveland Clinic tool predicts a patient’s likelihood of getting critically sick from COVID-19

Posted at 12:24 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 12:24:20-04

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic is now using a “risk calculator” to assess patients who test positive for COVID-19.

“We developed this calculator out of actual data out of 12,000 patients that were tested,” said Dr. Lara Jehi, the Clinic’s chief researcher.

The tool gives doctors an estimated percentage of the likelihood a patient who tests positive for COVID-19 will end up needing critical care.

Dr. Jehi said each patient answers questions about themselves. The questions vary from ones about the patient’s biology, like whether they have underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, vaccination history, age, etc.

But it also asks questions about the patient’s lifestyle, too.

“What we call the social determinants of health,” said Dr. Jehi. “That is where you live, income, racial disparities, your social status, access to medical care, what is outside of your body.”

Health officials will then input that data, and the calculator will determine what their risk is of getting extremely sick or if they’re more likely to have milder symptoms from the virus.

Dr. Jehi said it’s a way to weed out the patients who may need the most care and make sure they are not lost in the shuffle of positive cases.

“Because our calculator is integrated in our electronic house records, whenever our nurses, our care team, goes to their chart and goes to the medical record, they can immediately pull up the list that gives them the scores to everyone who has tested so they can filter up to the top those with the highest risk and make sure that they address them first,” she said.

It’s not just being used at all Cleveland Clinic hospitals, but at other hospital systems throughout the country.