Canadian COVID‑19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in more than 4 million infections and 275,000 deaths globally. Yet, pressing questions about its prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and resource allocation remain unanswered. This hinders evidence-based clinical decision-making, particularly in Emergency Departments. The Emergency Department is a place where the sickest patients present for early evaluation and care. Emergency providers are making decisions on whether and when to discharge patients or put patients on life-sustaining measures, such as artificial ventilation. However, these decisions are currently based on subjective judgement. We have created a national network of collaboration to address these knowledge gaps. Our network includes 51 collaborating Emergency Departments in 8 provinces. We will collect prospective and retrospective data on short-term outcomes from Emergency Department patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19, follow patients by telephone after discharge to see if they developed complications and ask them about their quality-of-life after COVID-19. We will use these data to develop and test clinical decision rules, which are simple user-friendly algorithms or point-scoring systems that predict an outcome, for example which patients have COVID‑19 in advance of diagnostic testing, or safe Emergency Department discharge. We are a team of health researchers, clinicians, patients and knowledge users with expertise in international networks, clinical decision rules, diagnostic testing, registries, and knowledge translation. Our work will enhance local and national collaborations to mitigate COVID‑19 and its consequences by improving Emergency Department treatment and decision-making. We will also link with other ongoing studies to enable our group and others to take advantage of the rich dataset we are creating to answer more questions to help answer local, national and international questions about COVID-19.