CDC Email: Let ‘s make better use of “our data”

“Dr. Valensky shared in his letter that there are five major commitments that will make us work more collaboratively by moving from ‘My Data’ thinking to ‘Our Data’,” the e-mail said.

The email is the first official indication that the CDC is taking new steps to correct data deficiencies that have hampered the agency’s Covid-19 response. And it comes amid calls from lawmakers and public health officials that the agency will find ways to provide more accurate data to respond to the next pandemic – information that could easily be shared with hospitals, public health departments and the federal government.

In an interview with POLITICO before sending the email, Jernigan said the modernization effort involves integrating public health data systems at the state and federal levels, ensuring that the CDC relies on updated information and can be used in real time. , And helps states hire staff to work on data collection and analysis.

For the past two years, the CDC has struggled to keep the virus from spreading rapidly, mostly across the country General Health Data Infrastructure. The agency relies on the states to collect data from laboratory reports and hospital records, which are then passed on to the CDC. But public health departments have insufficient funding, and the methods they use to study the spread of disease, such as Covid-19, are different and outdated.

States rely on several sources to collect public health data, including through contact qualifications, laboratory reports, and individual reports. Some still depend on laboratories to fax results to others, while others work with systems in which duplicate positive records cannot be eliminated.

“The data issues are real,” former CDC director Jeffrey Coplan told a panel at Yale University on Wednesday. “It’s really inconceivable that we could not take common measures from state to state to federal. “It undermines what we are trying to do and it needs to be fixed.”

The CDC is working on solutions designed to help states better access all the information they receive more quickly and holistically.

Jernigan compared the way local health departments can access data on Travelocity, a system that not only allows users to book flights, but can also get information from a variety of sources to offer car rental, hotel and business in your home. Destination.

A similar, cloud-based framework for public health information will one day enable local healthcare staff to quickly analyze data and understand what is happening in their communities rather than trying to integrate data into older systems.

“Now you can say, ‘I see you have people who have been positive and died, and they actually live in a district with a high social security index, and they are on the side that it serves.’ “We have a federally qualified health center and we have public health money,” Jernigan said. “Now you can have this data and the data work for you and not what was happening, what people have to work on to get the data. “People spend 80 percent of their time summarizing information, receiving faxes and placing them in one of the systems.”

The CDC and public health officials have put pressure on Congress across the country for that More Money for data modernization. Although legislators approved funding to improve CDC data methods, it was not enough to change the way the agency collects and analyzes data on public health emergencies, dozens This was reported to POLITICO by state officials.

At the start of the pandemic, the Trump administration sought to adapt the federal government’s public health data capabilities to close some long-standing gaps. The White House used the Department of Health and Human Services to commission part of the U.S. Covid-19 data collection. Department officials set up the HHS Protect – a system that asked hospitals to send information through a private contractor, TeleTracking, rather than through the CDC. The system should give U.S. officials more insight into how infectious diseases such as Covid-19 can strain hospital resources. The CDC has just taken on a project to improve both data collection and analysis.

To better understand how omicron and its subtype affect transmission and severe disease, the CDC will re-evaluate Covid-19 hospitalization to decipher how many people seek care for the virus and how many tested positive upon arrival.

Jernigan said the CDC will allocate $ 3 billion to help state health departments hire new staff and train existing staff who can improve the performance of local data systems. Louisiana state health officials have hired more staff to work on the state’s e-lab reporting program to ensure that test results entering the state health office are done by computer rather than by fax or e-mail, and that the results are accurate.

CDC Email: Let ‘s make better use of “our data”

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