How Boston Children’s Hospital Provided Instant Analysis of COVID-19 Data using AtScale & Tableau

Real-time analysis of crowdsourced data is used by researchers to identify hotspots to help end the pandemic

The Challenge

When COVID-19 hit the US, public health officials scrambled to collect and analyze as much data as possible about the disease to better understand and share its impact with the public and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) team introduced as a way to crowdsource self-reported symptom data so that public health officials could derive insights about the spread of the disease across North America. Their challenge was to be able to quickly query all the data being collected from a variety of sources and visualize the results so that their research partners could identify patterns and stop the spread of the disease. It was a manual, time-consuming process.

The Solution

Working with technology partners AtScale and Tableau, the experts at Boston Children’s Hospital were able to seamlessly provide Covid data to public health partners through a live connection between Tableau and the data. Using AtScale’s Cloud OLAP model and Tableau visualizations, Boston Children’s Hospital researchers are able to extract insights from data to help inform the public and the CDC on the state of COVID-19 in real time. Public health officials are able to leverage the self-reported COVID data to develop features for their predictive models, visualize the data in multiple formats and work with recommendations from the CDC to broaden their definitions COVID-like Symptoms.

AtScale Testimonial

A majority of public health data is generated from interactions between health providers and patients. COVIDNEARYOU.ORG fills in the reporting gaps left by a majority of those infected by COVID-19 who experience mild illness. Working with AtScale, we are now getting this data into the hands of public health officials to use in their analysis for pandemic response measures.

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John Brownstein

Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School

Using the new CDC definitions, we saw that there were more hot spots than we had seen before. We were able to visualize the data with Tableau and
harness the semantics from AtScale. As new definitions for syndromic surveillance evolve, we created new definitions and applied them across all of our visualizations.

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Christina Astley

Physician-Scientist Instructor in Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

We know how valuable self-reported data can be. When COVID-19 began to circulate within the United States, there was a lack of
testing. Coupled with an ever expanding list of symptoms, public health officials were challenged with understanding the dynamics of this emerging disease. By teaming up with our technology partners like AtScale and Tableau, our group was able to launch to supplement disease tracking of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

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Kara Sewalk

Program Manager, Boston Children’s Hospital

The Results

Since its release, over one million people in North America have reported their data to In collaboration with AtScale and Tableau, researchers are able to understand the incidents of illness and make determinations about who is receiving medical treatment and care. The Boston Children’s Hospital team will continue to use AtScale and Tableau with the ultimate goal of ending the pandemic and understanding the public can best overcome it.

Tableau Visualization, Understanding Symptoms by Location from 5/4- 5/17

Product Overview

AtScale offers a modern approach to business intelligence and analytics in the cloud. AtScale’s Cloud OLAP enables analysts to perform sub-second, multidimensional analysis with popular BI tools. Enterprises rely on AtScale to overcome data and analytics challenges including: accelerating data-driven decisions at scale, creating one compliant view of business metrics and definitions, controlling the complexity and costs of analytics and reducing the risk of analytics.

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Ranked the #1 pediatric hospital in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Boston Children’s Hospital is dedicated to improving and advancing the health and well-being of children around the world through its life-changing work in clinical care, biomedical research, medical education and community engagement. They treat more children with rare diseases and complex conditions than any other hospital in the world. Boston Children’s Hospital is the primary pediatric teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School.


The Global 2000 relies on AtScale – the intelligent data virtualization company – to provide a single, secured and governed workspace for distributed data. The combination of the company’s Cloud OLAP, Autonomous Data EngineeringTM and Universal Semantic LayerTM powers business intelligence resulting in faster, more accurate business decisions at scale. For more information, visit