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Decision Theater helps share key COVID-19 information using data analysis and visualization.

October 13, 2020

Amid the onset of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic, public health organizations and municipalities charged forward to identify and isolate people with active viral infections. To date, there are hundreds of different testing approaches employed globally to detect COVID-19. Tests may differ in regulatory status, detection technology, specificity, and the specimens collected. ASU’s College of Health Solutions recognized the importance of creating an interactive source for easily accessible and understandable data about these tests so that business, government, and educational institutions’ management can efficiently plan their testing strategy . With the help of Decision Theater, the College of Health Solutions and its partners created the COVID-19 Testing Commons. This dashboard organizes the information on available tests so that businesses, schools, healthcare providers, and public health officials can easily access data about the different tests and find the tests that best suit their needs. 

covid 19 dashboard 1The team from the College of Health Solutions collects data  from publicly available sources including regulatory postings, press releases, and company websites. The team of data scientists, software development experts, student research aides, and graphic designers from Decision Theater organize this data into web-based data visualizations. The built in filtering options then allow users to search the database by a variety of parameters, such as regulatory status, test type, specimen type, specificity, sensitivity, and country of origin.  

The COVID-19 Testing Commons is a part of the larger COVID-19 Diagnostics Commons. The ASU Diagnostic Commons, created by ASU’s College of Health Solutions, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, serves as an interactive compilation of information about available tests and common workplace practices during the pandemic. Mara Aspinall, Professor of Practice at ASU’s College of Health Solutions, and Nate Wade, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at the College of Health Solutions lead this initiative. Decision Theater provides data visualization, UX design, and software development support for the interactive dashboards. Wade described the collaboration with DT by saying, “We thoroughly enjoy working with the Decision Theater team and have been extremely impressed with their knowledge, efficiency, and entrepreneurial spirit.” 

covid 19 dashboard 2In addition to the Testing Commons, the Diagnostic Commons also houses the World Economic Forum’s and ASU’s joint initiative entitled COVID-19 Workplace Commons: Keeping Workers Well. Here, employers can take a survey on their current coronavirus workplace practices. This data will then be compiled into a dashboard so that employers and policy makers can make informed decisions about return to work policies. Decision Theater leads the software development for the Workplace Commons, and created a visualization platform to display the analyzed survey results.

Since publication in late July 2020, the Testing Commons dashboard continues to reach a wide audience of individuals, companies, policymakers, and diagnostics experts as the team at ASU’s College of Health solutions  shares the COVID-19 Diagnostic Commons in a series of webinars.The Testing Commons has also been featured on the CBS Evening News to identify tests where the sample is collected and the result can be found by the individual without visiting an official healthcare or testing facility. As more information is made available and new tests come out the dashboards will continue to be updated so that all stakeholders will continue to  have access to information they need to effectively create testing strategies.

By Kayleigh Steele