Population and Public Health

Public Health Information and Technology Infrastructure Modernization Funding Report

Healthcare professionals looking at data on a TV

A top priority of all governments and healthcare organizations in improving their response to the pandemic is learning how to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 through modern data systems and global policy efforts.  COVID-19 has exposed deadly gaps in our nation’s public health data infrastructure and emphasized the need to build a robust public health surveillance system that detects and facilitates the immediate response to, and containment of, emerging health threats.

The global health community has been proactive in implementing new processes and protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) is a multi-year, billion-plus dollar effort to modernize core data and surveillance infrastructure across the federal and state public health landscape.  However, public health in the U.S. is inherently state and local and is often siloed and fragmented.

States, territories, local and tribal health agencies(STLTs) are the primary partners required to analyze health data and share insights with federal agencies, healthcare facilities, and health data exchanges throughout the United States. Their roles are essential for addressing existing or future health threats and supporting meaningful use.  Thus, all efforts towards the CDC’s DMI must command a comprehensive agency-wide focus to improve HHS enterprise IT infrastructure at all levels. Modernization of public health data systems and services includes:

  • Digitization across the public health infrastructure
  • Standardization supporting greater interoperability across the spectrum of care
  • Innovation supporting the transformation of STLTs to support meaningful use, preparedness, and health equity

HIMSS recommends an approximately $36.7 billion investment to digitize, modernize and interoperate STLT public health data infrastructure over the next ten years. This ten-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:

  • Electronic case reporting and contact tracing
  • Syndromic disease surveillance
  • Nationwide notifiable disease surveillance
  • Vital records reporting
  • Electronic laboratory results reporting
  • Immunization registry reporting and query
  • Health IT innovations and workforce capacity
  • Trusted and secure access to multi-modal health data
  • Establish a nimble rapid cycle learning health system
  • Interoperable platforms to facilitate broad-based data exchange
  • Ongoing licensing costs, software updates, hardware updates

Read the full report to learn more about the significant investments needed to equip STLTs to analyze and share electronically transmissible visualized data and insights with eligible hospitals/providers. The report describes the estimated resources to acquire and maintain modern software and hardware, build an adaptable workforce, provide technical support to securely transmit vital health data electronically across the public health enterprise and appropriate healthcare systems.

For more information, contact policy@himss.org.