Long-term Sequelae of COVID-19: Using Clinical and Administrative Data to Support Diagnosis and Treatment of Long COVID Patients
“Long COVID” is the name for COVID‑19 illness that lasts more than 4 weeks. Patients with long COVID may have symptoms like shortness of breath or develop life-threatening blood clots that can cause stroke and other organ damage. In this proposal, we aim to describe long COVID patients using health system data to help healthcare providers learn about, diagnose and treat long COVID. Knowing more about how many patients have long COVID and what their risk factors are is also important for planning health system needs and policy. Manitoba has a large, linkable data resource spanning many years that contains information on every person who comes into contact with the Manitoba health system. We will use data from this resource, including hospital admissions data, electronic medical records from doctors’ clinics, and data from labs and pharmacies for our study. With the permission of First Nations, we will also access health records from individuals receiving federally funded health services in Manitoba First Nations communities. We will apply sophisticated biostatistical methods to examine patients’ characteristics (age, sex, income), other conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease), geography (urban/rural), First Nations identity, immigrant status, and COVID‑19 severity (length of time in hospital or intensive care, drugs prescribed). The analyses will allow us to develop a practical definition of long COVID, and to estimate how likely it is that someone who with COVID‑19 later develops long COVID. Our multi-disciplinary team of researchers, clinicians, patients and knowledge users will work together to ensure the findings are relevant to practice and policy and will support clinicians caring for long COVID patients. We will share our analytic approach and findings through existing regional and pan-Canadian networks to build capacity in understanding this evolving condition.