New NHS online tool can spot highest-risk Covid patients earlier

The handy prediction tool may help save lives (Image: Getty Images)

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Covid patients who are at the highest risk of 'deterioration' can be spotted in advance by an online tool that has been made freely available to NHS doctors today.

The new program could help to triage those most likely to suffer worsening condition from the virus by assessing patient data collected from hospitals and laboratory tests.

Built by experts from the government-run UK Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium (known as ISARIC4C), the tool calculates a percentage risk of deterioration, known as the 4C Deterioration Score.

It comes after the scientists' previous work – the 4C Mortality Score – which predicts the percentage risk of death from Covid after hospital admission.

Experts say the model, published in the Lancet Medical Journal, could help improve patient outcomes and may save lives.

The study used data collected from 260 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales
(Image: Getty Images)

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Mahdad Noursadeghi, a professor of infectious diseases at University College London who co-wrote the paper, said: "Accurate risk-stratification at the point of admission to hospital will give doctors greater confidence about clinical decisions and planning ahead for the needs of individual patients.

"The addition of the new 4C Deterioration Score alongside the 4C Mortality Score will provide clinicians with an evidence-based measure to identify those who will need increased hospital support during their admission, even if they have a low risk of death."

The experts used data from 74,944 adults with Covid who were admitted to 260 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales, between 6 February 6 and 26 August last year.

Those who have come into contact with the virus must self-isolate to curb the spread
(Image: Getty Images)

They said it can be incorporated into NHS trusts' Electronic Health Record System – used to manage all patient care – so that risk scores for patients can be generated automatically.

First author Dr Rishi Gupta, of UCL's Institute of Global Health, said: "The scale and wide geographical coverage of the ISARIC4C study across the country was critical to the development of this prediction tool.

"Our analysis provides very encouraging evidence that the 4C Deterioration tool is likely to be useful for clinicians across England, Scotland and Wales to support clinical decision-making."

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