Castor supports Covid-19 clinical research around the world with Tableau

Castor is passionate about transforming medical research. Thousands of medical device, biotech and academic institution researchers around the world rely on the Castor EDC (Electronic Data Capture) platform to easily integrate high-quality data from any source and accelerate their studies.

Here, Castor's CEO and founder Derk Arts discusses how visual analytics with Tableau - as part of the Castor EDC platform - is being used to better understand the Covid-19 virus, optimize valuable hospital resources and ultimately improve Covid-19 patient outcomes.

Tableau was the first choice to support our Covid-19 programme. It is easy to use and incredibly powerful, and allows people to understand research results significantly faster and more efficiently.

How does Castor's technology support the fight against Covid-19?

Before I launched Castor, it was clear to me that medical research and evidence-based medicine were not making optimal use of data. Decisions were still too often made based on paper documents, spreadsheets or free text publications. I wanted to do something about that. At Castor, we envision a future where all medical research data is machine-readable, reusable and available to everyone to improve patient outcomes.

When new virus strains like coronavirus emerge, data are clearly our most valuable asset. This was true during the Ebola outbreak, where we had decades of research on the effects and possible treatments, and it is doubly true in the case of coronavirus.

Castor's research EDC platform is available free of charge to all Covid-19 research projects. We now support more than 200 Covid-19 studies in 16 countries. And because time is of the essence, we ensured that these studies could go live within an average of six days. We developed pre-built electronic case report forms (eCRFs) based on World Health Organization (WHO) standards, to help researchers get their study or registry up and running in less than an hour.

How does Tableau fit into this Covid-19 study?

One of the best ways to maximize the impact of data is through visual analytics. And no one does that better than Tableau. Tableau was the first choice to support our Covid-19 program. Easy to use and incredibly powerful, it enables people to understand research findings significantly faster and more efficiently.

We ensure the optimal allocation of limited hospital resources and ensure that the most seriously ill patients receive the highest level of care.


Can you give an example of Covid-19 research and how Tableau is used?
Castor has made its EDC platform available free of charge for any non-profit research related to Covid-19. And Tableau is an integral part of that. This is especially true in the case of the Covid Predict study, a collaboration between physicians and researchers in the Netherlands to better understand and predict which Covid-19 patients should receive which treatment and type of care. We ensure the optimal allocation of limited hospital resources and that the most seriously ill patients receive the highest level of care.

Our EDC system helps the Covid Predict consortium easily capture data from multiple sources - it currently includes more than five million data points. Algorithms for predicting disease outcomes are created and tested with data retrieved in real-time via Castor's API, which enables integration with a wide range of other platforms. These algorithms help predict the likelihood that a patient will require intensive care, and if so, what the likely outcome will be.

Tableau enables people to understand all this quickly and easily. It provides an overview of admissions to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), medium care unit and hospital wards, and visualizes patient outcomes and complications. For example, one crucial dashboard shows the demographic age profile of admissions, the average length of admission, and the number of people discharged from the hospital, admitted to the hospital, transferred, receiving palliative care, or sadly deceased.

This is remarkable and valuable work.

What role did Tableau partner The Information Lab Netherlands play in supporting these projects?

All of this was made possible through trusted collaboration with Tableau, The Information Lab's expertise, and Alteryx. Thus, in just a few days, The Information Lab created these incredibly powerful visualizations, which ultimately help reduce hospital crowding, protect staff and prioritize patients who need to be admitted to the hospital.

How important is it for healthcare providers to become more data-driven?

Everyone must come together with a shared mission to see data as a reliable commodity. Once data can circulate freely among researchers, clinicians and others, for example, it becomes possible to shorten research cycles and improve health care outcomes.


  • Category: Customer case
  • Customer: Castor
  • Interviewee: Derk Arts
  • Role: CEO
  • Service: Tableau