The aim of this WP is to conduct research through use cases of immediate relevance for public health policies and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to facilitate further research by making scalable, reproducible methods available within PHIRI.
Specific objectives of this work package are to research:
- direct and indirect determinants of COVID-19 infection and outcomes in vulnerable population groups with reference to inequalities,
- COVID-19 related delayed care in breast cancer patients,
- the impact of COVID-19 on perinatal health and perinatal health inequalities,
- COVID-19 related changes in population mental health and
- pilot activities carried out as Research Infrastructure through research use cases by pooling data across European countries, and feeding outputs in the federated research infrastructure.
Use Case A - Vulnerable populations, inequalities and risk factors with direct or indirect impact on COVID-19 outcomes
Wide variations in COVID-19 infection and outcomes exist across Europe and within countries. This workpackage aims to clarify the relationship between a wide variety of risk factors as exposures and outcomes (infection, hospitalisation, death) and explore how this varies between settings and over time. Research will be carry out to demonstrate how the distribution of infection, outcomes and risk factors using individual level health record, administrative and research data can be combined with ecological/group level contextual data across European populations to produce actionable policy insights.
Use Case B - Delayed care in cancer patients
Healthcare systems all across Europe have had to reorganize services and reallocate resources to provide attention to COVID-19 patients. Because of the rampant increase of cases that required intensive attention or the inherent risk of COVID-19 nosocomial infection, all countries have been forced to cancel or postpone non-urgent care (e.g., elective surgery). This use case seeks to elicit:
- Whether there has been an increase in time to treatment in women diagnosed with breast cancer in the month previous to the lockdown measures, as compared with women diagnosed with breast cancer before that period and
- Whether this delay is a consequence of the intensity of the lockdown measures.
Use Case C - Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and newborn health
Pregnant women and newborns are vulnerable during infectious disease pandemics because of specificities in their immune systems, maternal-fetal transmission, non-deferrable healthcare needs and risks of adverse perinatal outcomes due to stress and social deprivation. This use case:
- Investigates the pandemic’s direct (infection by SARS-CoV-2) and indirect effects (related to health service accessibility and confinement) on perinatal health using routine population birth data,
- Assesses whether effects differ by socioeconomic context,
- Uses results to assess how policies in participating countries may have impacted health effects and social inequalities and
- Improves preparedness for future epidemics by creating a template for utilization of routine population birth data and identifying needed improvements to current systems.
Use Case D - COVID-19 related changes in population mental health
Individuals with mental health risk factors or mental disease are most commonly affected by COVID-19 confinement measures and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This case study measures changes in population mental health associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use case supporting activities for implementation in the PHIRI infrastructure
The aim of this final task is to support the specific activities regarding the use cases to ensure the effective linkage across WPs related to PHIRI infrastructure and it is divided into three activities:
- Formalization of each use case data model and transport to the Common Data Model (CDM) for PHIRI
- FAIRification of use case results: coordination of the design of metadata models of use case results required for its publication in the FAIR data portal.
- Scalability, sustainability and rapid cycle analysis requirements.
The leader and co-leader of this work package are: