Even nine months after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, researchers in Austria have only limited access to health data. Scientists criticize that the planned improvement of the Covid data platform has not yet been implemented. At least for intensive care patients, this should now change, the Ministry of Health announced on APA request: A Covid intensive care register should better document the course of the disease and enable scientific support.
Linking the data is not possible
It is currently not possible to say which population or occupational groups are more affected by Covid or which previous illnesses lead to particularly severe courses. The GÖG health agency has had a platform since June that gives researchers access to anonymized infection data. It was set up after scientists issued an open letter warning against “flying blind” because existing data may not be evaluated. However, the link with other public databases – such as those of hospitals and social security – is still not possible, which is important for many research questions.
“The data is there, but it is not publicly available,” says complexity researcher Peter Klimek from the Medical University of Vienna. He criticizes the fact that data on the “acute response” to the crisis are available. But the numerous questions about collateral and consequential damage from the pandemic cannot be researched, according to the scientist who is a member of the Covid forecasting consortium: “We now have to put the data infrastructure up on its feet so that we don’t have to fly the medium completely blind – and manage the long-term consequences of the pandemic. ”