How the Largest Hospitalist Group in the U.S. Is Using Data and Analytics to Understand COVID-19

How the Largest Hospitalist Group in the U.S. Is Using Data and Analytics to Understand COVID-19

How the Largest Hospitalist Group in the U.S. Is Using Data and Analytics to Understand COVID-19

Sound Physicians is a national medical group focused on acute, hospital-based care. Sound is the largest hospitalist and critical care group in the United States, with more than 3,500 physicians and advanced practice providers in hospital medicine, intensive care, and emergency medicine, at more than 250 hospitals located in 36 states.

In addition to its national scale, Sound is also a leader in physician performance and analytics. They rely on an advanced analytic and IT infrastructure and workflow to improve care, manage performance, and monitor trends.

Real-Time Monitoring to Manage COVID-19

Sound has been monitoring and managing COVID-19 since early 2020 when the first cases started occurring in the United States. In addition to ensuring patients receive appropriate care and achieve the best outcomes, the safety and protection of clinicians is top priority.

Sound’s Chief Clinical Officer, John Birkmeyer, M.D., put it this way in a recent interview with the NEJM Catalyst:

“Our major focus in reacting to the COVID-19 epidemic has been to retool our nationwide IT platform to track in real time which patients have COVID in the presence or absence of testing confirmation. That same IT tool not only applies to patients that have COVID but simplifies our team’s approach to be able to concentrate those patients on specific teams and in specific parts of the hospital.”

Leveraging their proprietary charge documentation application, Sound embedded logic into their technology and steps into their clinical workflows to prompt physicians to identify whether the patient is being treated for and/or tested positive for COVID. Physicians are prompted to answer this question, at both admission and discharge, for any patient presenting with a primary diagnosis of coronavirus, respiratory illness, or sepsis without another cause.

This near real-time data drives ArborMetrix analytic and reporting tools, from which Sound users can gather insights to understand the coronavirus impact on daily admissions, bed capacity, resource utilization, provider well-being, and standard acute care, at a local, regional, and/or national level. 

As Dr. Birkmeyer told NEJM Catalyst:

“The other advantage of that type of real-time tracking, particularly given all of the fluidity involved in growth in admission rates, is that it allows Sound as a national organization to better keep its finger on the pulse of the epidemic. Specifically by us appreciating what the prevalence is at any one of our sites, it allows us to tailor our support to the hospital sites and to the physician teams that need that most. Sometimes that support focuses on the availability of PPE equipment — and specifically, where we can, backstopping shortages of N95 masks. But that type of support also extends to providing emotional support and well-being services to physicians who are significantly stressed.”

Sound’s coast-to-coast footprint provides them with a nationally-representative database on COVID admissions, treatments, and outcomes across all of their partner hospitals. This expansive data positions Sound with the unique opportunity to help state governments, federal bodies, media, and other stakeholders, understand the national impact of the pandemic, as it relates to virus spread, population impact, and healthcare resource utilization.


This map from April 21, 2020, shows the volume of suspected COVID-19 cases at Sound Physician partner hospitals in the continental U.S.

Nationwide COVID-19 Dataset Drives Research

Additionally, Sound is partnering with academic researchers to use the data in order to understand:

  • The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on hospitalizations for acute medical illness.
  • Risk of infection among front-line healthcare professionals.
  • Risk factors for adverse outcomes of COVID-19 in hospitalizations.
  • Effects of state social distancing orders on COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on stress and burnout in healthcare professionals.

Through their partnership with ArborMetrix, Sound is able to provide their field leadership and users with interactive reporting tools based on near real-time data, to gain key clinical insights as to how COVID-19 is impacting daily admissions, bed utilization, resource utilization, and provider safety. Armed with data and analytics, Sound is positioned to be a leader in the fight against the coronavirus.

If you have any questions about these programs or would like to learn more about our healthcare analytics solutions for physician organizations or contact us here.

How the Largest Hospitalist Group in the U.S. Is Using Data and Analytics to Understand COVID-19

How Patient Registries Are Advancing Our Understanding of COVID-19: Patient and Provider Surveys

How Patient Registries Are Advancing Our Understanding of COVID-19: Patient and Provider Surveys

Medical societies and patient foundations are playing an important role in the fight against COVID-19. They are adapting their registries to collect, analyze, and share data about the virus and its impact on patients, physicians, and other caregivers.

We recently helped two of our customers – Conquering CHD and the Palliative Care Quality Collaborative (PCQC) – launch secure, open-access surveys to collect information from those affected by COVID-19 and learn from it.

Using Patient-Sourced Data to Understand COVID-19 and Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)

Conquering CHD logo

Our partners at Conquering CHD (formerly Pediatric Congenital Heart Association) have launched a new platform to improve understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on people with congenital heart disease (CHD).

InformCHD, a patient-reported database, will collect information directly from people with congenital heart disease who are potentially at risk for severe complications related to COVID-19. The patient-reported data will be collected via a secure, publicly available survey and will be centralized in a longitudinal database. InformCHD will allow the community to learn more than traditional mechanisms would allow by gathering information over time.

All persons with congenital heart disease (or their caregivers) can participate in this learning and research opportunity, regardless of their age or type of CHD. The information collected will not answer everyone’s questions about CHD and COVID-19, but it will help Conquering CHD begin to gather, analyze, and disseminate information specific to the congenital heart community, both now and in the future.

Go to the InformCHD website to get involved or learn more.

InformCHD COVID-19 Patient Survey Design

After learning from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that there would be limited focus on how COVID-19 would affect patients with congenital heart disease, Conquering CHD knew they needed a near-immediate solution for understanding this population. The InformCHD survey aims to measure the COVID-19 experience for patients who were born with a heart problem and tracks demographics, heart disease condition and surgical history alongside their COVID-19 testing status.

In addition to the infrastructure support and expertise we are providing, Conquering CHD is collaborating with public health experts and CHD providers from across the country in this effort. This survey is unique in several ways. As a result of the collaboration between patients, family members and researchers, this survey underwent several rounds of testing in front of a pilot audience prior to release. It is also the first of its kind in the CHD community, utilizing our capabilities to quickly re-survey a participant to understand how the virus impacts the community over a course of several weeks.

This is research that matters to all of us, and it matters right now. What we are building today will help for decades to come. We are pleased to provide such a timely response to an urgent need.

To learn more or participate in Conquering CHD’s survey, visit the InformCHD website.

Understanding COVID-19's Effect on Palliative Care Clinicians


The Palliative Care Quality Collaborative (PCQC) will house the new, unified quality registry for specialty palliative care. PCQC aims to provide palliative care clinicians and programs with actionable information to improve the quality of palliative care delivery.

PCQC has taken quick action in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis as palliative care clinicians and administrators face tremendous uncertainty. This week they launched a brief case report form "to collate experiences of palliative care clinicians in caring for COVID-19 positive, PUI (Person Under Investigation), and recovered patients." They plan to share these experiences with the palliative care community to drive understanding and clarity in the field through continuous learning.

The survey is an international effort, and is free and open to all palliative care programs across the continuum of care. PCQC says they are counting on robust participation and collaboration to help gain a greater understanding of how the pandemic is affecting the specialty.

PCQC provides regularly updated summary information about the reported cases, so the entire palliative care community will have access to this information in a timely manner.

The registry contains only de-identified data, per HIPAA Safe Harbor De-Identification standards, and does not contain any patient or institutional identifiers.

To learn more or participate in PCQC's survey, visit the PCQC COVID-19 webpage.

PCQC COVID-19 Palliative Care Program Survey Design

With the objectives of providing a widely accessible case report and minimizing clinician burden, PCQC created a short web-based case report form that they have shared throughout the palliative care community.

To assist with data capture, PCQC also developed a data collection card for clinicians to populate before entering into the online case report. Links to both resources were emailed directly to thousands of palliative care professionals, posted on websites, and shared on social media platforms. Additional messaging and outreach efforts are underway to reach an even broader audience continually.

To understand the role palliative care is playing in caring for COVID-19 patients, topics covered in the case report include:

  • Care setting.
  • Family visitation.
  • Referring specialty.
  • Reasons for an initial consult.
  • Areas of assistance.
  • Patient characteristics.

Additionally, there is a comment box at the end of the form for clinicians to explain in their own words the challenges, lessons learned, or ethical barriers they encountered while caring for the patient. You can access the form on the PCQC website.