On Wednesday February 27, HIMSS along with the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and NAPHSIS launched a campaign, Data: Elemental to Health aimed at securing $1 billion over 10 years – $100 million in Federal Fiscal Year 2020 – in a new appropriation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for an innovative initiative that will transform the public health surveillance enterprise.
Specifically, this new funding would allow CDC and state, local, tribal and territorial health departments to implement leading edge, interoperable, secure IT systems, and recruit and retain skilled data scientists. Modernizing public health data collection into a seamless and integrated framework that automatically draws information from the health care system and reports it to public health agencies will create a coordinated and expanded surveillance capability across the nation.
As it stands currently, the nation’s public health data systems are antiquated, rely on obsolete surveillance methods, and are in dire need of security upgrades. Sluggish, manual processes, paper records, spreadsheets, faxes, and phone calls are still in widespread use. Lack of interoperability, reporting consistency, and data standards leads to errors in quality, timeliness, and communication. In addition, public health professionals are faced with rapid advances in data science and evolving cybersecurity threats, and many do not yet have the necessary 21st century skills to understand and securely integrate health data.
HIMSS is proud to be leading this effort which fully aligns with our mission and 2017-2018 Congressional Ask: Invest in Infrastructure to Support 21st Century Healthcare. The time is now to invest in, and modernize our nation’s public health surveillance enterprise. Ultimately, more, better, faster data, yielded by secure, interoperable, integrated systems will allow public health professionals and policymakers to make better decisions and get ahead of chronic, emerging, and urgent threats.