Last updated: 07-01-2020

About the National COVID Cohort Collaborative

 

During public health emergencies like COVID-19, science—and the process of turning observations into new therapies—must be translated faster than ever. Vast amounts of clinical data are being generated that could be used to advance research efforts focused on COVID-19. These datasets often become too large to share and the networks for data management are so dissimilar that they cannot be combined easily, creating roadblocks along the path to developing new treatments. With no standardized way to collect and harmonize all this data being generated, there is an urgent need for a COVID-19 analytics platform that can turn all this data into new knowledge that can speed research efforts across the country. Making data more meaningful, open and accessible is a key goal in NCATS’ efforts to improve translational science and advance research across many diseases.

A new effort called the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, or N3C, aims to build a centralized national data resource—the NCATS N3C Data Enclave—that the research community can use to study COVID-19 and identify potential treatments as the pandemic continues to evolve. Specifically, the N3C will enable the rapid collection and analysis of clinical, laboratory and diagnostic data from hospitals and health care plans. If successful, this approach will be applicable to other research questions and may serve as a model for addressing future public health emergencies.

The N3C is a partnership among the NCATS-supported Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hubs and the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H), with overall stewardship by NCATS. Collaborators will contribute and use COVID-19 clinical data to answer critical research questions to address the pandemic.

Learn more about the N3C and see a demonstration of the analytics platform:

An audio described version of the video is available.

About the Approach

The N3C marshals the NCATS-supported resources of CTSA Program hubs and the CD2H to speed research and clinical care efforts at local, regional and national levels. It also leverages an existing framework of collaborative informatics networks and NCATS-supported cloud resources.

The N3C will systematically collect data derived from the electronic health records of people who were tested for the novel coronavirus or who had related symptoms. The data, which are provided by participating partners and other collaborators after executing a data transfer agreement with NCATS, will be harmonized and then managed in a way that maintains the data’s validity while protecting patient privacy. The N3C will make the harmonized data available via a centralized, secure analytics platform. This platform is a cloud-based research environment provided by NCATS. As such, NCATS serves as steward of the data. The Center is taking multiple precautions for security and privacy to keep these data safe within its protected cloud infrastructure.  

Currently, the N3C is acquiring the initial data from its CTSA Program partners and is developing additional collaborations to enable access to more data. NCATS is working with N3C partners to develop the data use agreement and governance.  

For more details about this effort, including information on participating in the N3C and on the data being collected, please see the N3C FAQs.

If you have questions about the N3C, including those related to data transfer and the analytics platform, please email NCATS_N3C@nih.gov.

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