UIC joins registry of COVID-19 frontline care providers, preventive drug trial

Health care workers at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, or UI Health, are now eligible to participate in a national registry of clinicians working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UI Health is part of the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is among the first institutions in the nation to participate in the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes Registry.

The HERO Registry seeks to engage health care workers, understand their experiences and track their health outcomes related to the pandemic — from COVID-19 infection to stress and burnout. Participant experiences and health outcomes will be tracked via surveys and opportunities, to participate in clinical trials.

As part of the registry, health care workers at UI Health also will have the opportunity to participate in future COVID-19 clinical trials, such as an upcoming study of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in preventing coronavirus infections in health care workers. This study, the first for the HERO Registry, will enroll approximately 15,000 health care workers from participating institutions in the clinical trial to see if hydroxychloroquine performs better than placebo at preventing COVID-19.

Susan Casey Bleasdale, MD, FIDSA, FACP
Dr. Susan Bleasdale

“This is a great opportunity for our health care workers to share their experiences and the challenges they face as frontline care providers,” said UIC’s Dr. Susan Bleasdale, associate professor of clinical medicine at the College of Medicine, medical director of infection prevention at UI Health and principal investigator of the HERO hydroxychloroquine study at UIC. “We need to study what is happening among health care providers with the same dedication we study what is happening to patients.

“This information is vital to understanding what works and what doesn’t work as we start thinking through the best ways to protect health care workers, emerge from this crisis and learn from it,” said Bleasdale, who is an infectious disease expert.

Bleasdale said that documenting the experiences of health care providers in real-time during the COVID-19 pandemic can provide invaluable information to public health departments, hospitals and infectious disease experts on how to prepare for future outbreaks or a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hydroxychloroquine study is expected to begin enrolling health care workers through the HERO registry on May 4.

The HERO research program leverages PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

More information about the HERO Registry, which is led by Duke University, is available online.

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