Frequently Asked Questions about POD Assist

Background

What is the POD Assist system and what does it do?

The POD Assist system is an emergency preparedness and response information system. It is useful during any public health event where administered vaccine doses are tracked and pharmaceuticals and medical materials are dispensed. POD Assist is a flexible all-hazards system that reduces the need for development of new applications for tracking doses of vaccines, drugs, and other materials dispensed each time there is a new event requiring a public health response.

Implementation

How do I get started with POD Assist?

If you are interested in using the CDC POD Assist application, the POD Assist team can provide you with the steps necessary to get started. For assistance, e-mail ctscloud@cdc.gov.

What security measures are in place to protect the data that is submitted to CDC?

As a government agency, CDC is bound by federal law that dictates specific information security rules and processes that must be followed. To comply with these rules, POD Assist uses the CDC Secure Access Management Services (SAMS) portal for electronic authentication. SAMS provides secure access to applications within the CDC environment and functions as the authentication gateway to POD Assist as well as the other CTS applications. SAMS is the next-generation replacement for CDC’s legacy Secure Data Network (SDN) portal and does not use digital certificates.

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Legislation

How can I account for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) policy requirements for personal information privacy and ensure compliance?

The HIPAA privacy rule permits disclosure to public health authorities without further authorization. Covered entities are permitted to disclose Protected Health Information to public health authorities without patients’ authorization as defined at 45 C.F.R § 164.501 and as used in 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(b), Standards for Privacy of Individuality Identifiable Health Information, promulgated under HIPAA.

POD Assist supports collection of unidentified individual/patient information. During data entry, a unique identifier is assigned to each individual/patient record, allowing capture and retrieval of information without using identifying information. Project areas may use this feature and are not required to capture personally identifiable information (PII).

For more information, e-mail ctscloud@cdc.gov.

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Page last reviewed: December 16, 2020