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Oracle builds CoVPN volunteer screening tool for NIH

Oracle has developed cloud apps to help healthcare professionals keep track of COVID-19 data including results from clinical trials and lists of volunteers for vaccine trials.

Oracle is lending a hand in the fight against COVID-19.

The database vendor has partnered with federal healthcare leaders to develop three cloud applications that collect and analyze data, such as drug effectiveness, for combatting COVID-19. The vendor's latest cloud app screens volunteers for the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (CoVPN) established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Rebecca Laborde, principal scientist in clinical innovation at Oracle, said the cloud applications can help healthcare CIOs assess and understand data related to COVID-19 or organize data that enables health systems to find volunteers for clinical trials.

Brian Murphy, director of research at advisory firm Chilmark Research, said, while Oracle may not be a big player in the healthcare industry, it brings to the table extensive data storage and management experience as one of the biggest database vendors in the U.S.

Oracle is donating the technology to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The applications are now available for use by health systems across the U.S.

"What Oracle saw was the ability for technology to supplement real-world evidence gathering and to be able to create systems really rapidly that could be customized to the COVID-19 pandemic," Laborde said.

Oracle and COVID-19

Oracle began developing and deploying cloud application systems targeting the coronavirus in its Oracle Cloud platform at the beginning of the pandemic.

Rebecca LabordeRebecca Laborde

The vendor collaborated with several federal agencies within HHS, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to build out the series of application systems.

The first cloud application Oracle released was the Clinical Trial Management System, which healthcare organizations can use to manage clinical trial data on drugs being tested to treat COVID-19. The system, which launched in April, enables healthcare systems to run clinical trials testing the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments.

Later in April, Oracle released the Therapeutic Learning System, which enables physicians to record the daily progress of patients on drug treatments for COVID-19. The cloud application was expanded to include patient monitoring, meaning participating patients could input their symptoms via mobile devices. More than 1.5 million patient updates have been recorded in the Therapeutic Learning System, according to Oracle.

Finally, in July, Oracle launched the CoVPN Volunteer Screening Registry, which identifies and screens volunteers for NIAID's CoVPN. The goal of the CoVPN is to register millions of volunteers for clinical testing of COVID-19 vaccines.

Laborde said challenges can occur in clinical trials, including identifying and recruiting participants -- a process the CoVPN Volunteer Screening Registry aims to expedite. The screening registry includes data, such as basic demographic information and preexisting conditions, on those who want to participate. The basic information gathered during the screening process helps clinical trial sites prioritize volunteers for more rigorous clinical trial participation screening processes.

Laborde said the CoVPN Volunteer Screening Registry might be useful for healthcare CIOs as hospital systems get inquiries from patients asking to participate in clinical trials. The registry offers a streamlined way to get patients screened and registered as volunteers.

"With the clinical trials, this is a really expedited timeline to develop something like a vaccine," she said. "We're going to see a variety of different trials, and the ability to rapidly identify individuals that would be potential candidates for this is really critical to the success of these trials."

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