Improving IT Infrastructure and EH Data Collection

Five jurisdictions affected by hurricanes in 2017 received funding to improve IT infrastructure and EH data collection activities. Learn more about these activities.

African businessman analyzing data charts/graphs of a project on pc monitor in an office.

Florida created an all-new department database to support planning and emergency response.

(Florida Department of Health)

Goal: Improve programming technology, increase interoperability, and enhance mobile applications to capture data quickly.


  • Florida’s web-based database application needed programming, interoperability, and mobile applications improvements to capture data quickly and efficiently

What Florida Did

  • Developed a new, flexible database application to support EH planning and response activities
    • Contracted for a data management system
    • Cleaned up 20 years of data
    • Conducted 86 trainings for 810 EH staff on how to use the system
    • Procured 350 tablets for EH field use
    • Tested, approved, and completed two program module configurations
  • Hired two new staff (GIS database analyst and business analyst)
  • Completed procurement actions for new data systems

Houston, Texas, updated software to better monitor food safety during disasters.

(Houston Health Department [HHD])

Goal: Develop electronic disaster assessment tools to monitor food service establishments and high-risk facilities.


  • Time consuming data analysis and reporting from data collected in open text platform
  • Limits to communication with restaurants – through dept website or local restaurant association

What Houston Did

  • Enhanced its existing database to include an interface that captured disaster assessment findings and queried data for reporting and dissemination to the public. The GIS component of the database now presents outages overlaid with geocoded food service establishments for more-directed response during disasters.
  • Built a Mobile Ambient Air Monitoring Laboratory (MAAML)
  • Established contract with an external vendor to create a data lake to aggregate and display the data collected.
  • Hired one epi-biostatician
  • Procured workstations, phones, and office supplies
  • Identified existing information sources for development of response tool
  • Developed electronic disaster assessment inspection tool
  • Completed five procurement actions for IT infrastructure and software
  • Developed the environmental health data lake and warehouse

Louisiana fortified their data collection and reporting tools for stronger shelter and food services assessments.

(Louisiana Department of Health [LDH])

Goal: Strengthen data collection and electronic reporting and develop electronic post-disaster assessment tools for shelters and food service facilities.


  • Insufficient EH IT infrastructure

What Louisiana Did

  • Procured 200 mobile Wi-Fi hotspot jet packs
  • Used the mobile hotspots when a cyberattack during the project period crippled Internet service, helping prevent 2 weeks of productivity loss for inspections
  • Hired two EH staff
  • Created two assessments (shelter electronic assessment tool and food service facility assessment tool)

Puerto Rico standardized their data collection and reporting and updated their databases.

(Puerto Rico Department of Health [DOH])

Goal: Build cloud-based IT infrastructure to support multiple EH activities, standardize data collection and reporting, and connect systems.

  • Unable to observe trends in inspection data

What Puerto Rico did

  • Procured and distributed more than 45 pieces of equipment and supplies such as ion chambers, emergency power devices, phones, computers, and tablets
  • Contracted four staff (public health educator, data coordinator, information technology specialist, and epidemiologist)
  • Used a free, secure web application in a novel way to
    • Digitize paper forms for radiology, food, water, milk inspections
    • Create registries for establishments that need these inspections
    • Create SOPs for updating registries
    • Connect 61 PR DOH users and establish the EH team as the main contact
  • Updated more than 26 databases, including 4 milk and 22 water databases
  • Used wifi hotspots to keep staff connected to complete essential tasks during the COVID-19 crisis

USVI updated equipment and software for more efficient inspections and assessments.

(U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Environmental Health [USVI DEH])

Goal: Implement a comprehensive EH information system and adoption of electronic assessment processes.

  • Insufficient capacity to provide public health services
  • Lacking critical infrastructure to support advancements in electronic/digital surveillance

What USVI did

  • Procured an electronic inspection system and equipment to implement digital inspections and replace hard-copy records
  • Procured and implemented environmental health inspection and management software, resulting in more efficient inspections of food, water, and other facilities
  • Purchased electronic equipment for digital environmental health facility assessments
  • Hired part-time IT support staff
  • Contracted with an external vendor for data collection and storage