Following months of review and information sharing with experts from across the U.S., HIMSS recommends a total investment of about $36.7 billion over 10 years to modernize State, Territorial, Local and Tribal (STLT) public health infrastructure to ensure readiness for ongoing and emerging public health emergencies.
After decades of limited funding, the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing Public Health Emergency have put a spotlight on the urgent need for a large-scale investment in STLT public health data infrastructure.
The $36.7 billion figure includes $25.6 billion for immediate STLT public health data infrastructure and $11 billion for public health interoperability and sustainability, according to the Public Health Information and Technology Infrastructure Modernization Funding Report.
“Local-to-global communities can benefit immensely from modernization, especially during public health crises and in preparing for future crises,” said Valerie Rogers, Director, Government Relations. “The proposed 10-year, $36.7 billion investment to strengthen our public health information infrastructure ensures our ability to produce more meaningful data yielded by secure, interoperable, integrated systems supporting public health officials, healthcare agencies and policymakers in making informed decisions to rapidly respond to health threats arising from resistant infectious diseases as well as the impacts from global climate shifts and natural disasters. These investments also support our national Healthy People 2030 goals to address health inequalities and persistent chronic conditions.”
To achieve a meaningful and sustained system transformation by 2030, HIMSS recommends supporting the coordination of easy, trusted and secure access of multi-modal health data across virtual, remote or in-person services; establishing a nimble rapid cycle learning health system environment; and improving health outcomes, with high priority given to gathering the demographic data needed to effectively document then manage inequities and disparities data.
Modernization of public health data systems and services includes digitization of the public health infrastructure with cloud-based services; standardization supporting greater interoperability across the spectrum of care; and innovation supporting the transformation of STLTs to adopt new business processes, address health crises and health equity priorities.
STLTs must be equipped to analyze and share electronically transmissible visualized data and insights to support health equity related issues such as pandemic response, digital health literacy, expanded access to care via telehealth and remote patient monitoring and health equity including maternal mortality surveillance, disease reporting and digital patient engagement.
“In 2010, the Public Health Community was asked to wait its turn for a chance of modernization while hospitals and providers received more than $35 billion in direct funding,” said Tom Leary, Senior Vice President and Head of Government Relations. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated we can’t wait any longer. The $1 billion in funding that has been invested by Congress since March 2020 has many benefits. To truly ensure public health is an equal partner with the U.S. clinical environment, we need a responsible approach to investment in STLT public health infrastructure. Our report outlines the areas of investment that will bolster public health throughout the U.S. It will have immediate and long-term benefits for all STLT communities.”
HIMSS recommends an approximately $36.7 billion investment to digitize, modernize and interoperate STLT public health data infrastructure over the next ten years. This 10-year investment strategy will also develop the local public health informatics workforce and systems compatibility required to support the following essential public health functions and modernization priorities.