Urgently modernizing U.S. public health data systems

Illustration showing a brain with the caption Modernization is a mindset

“Brittle and siloed” is how NCEZID once described the nation’s public health data systems. Health departments and parts of CDC used different data systems and differing approaches to handling data. Many were out of date. CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) works to unify and advance data systems at CDC and in the nation’s health departments, and when COVID-19 struck, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act awarded $500 million to CDC for DMI. The support has brought CDC much closer to our goal.

At NCEZID, we are collaborating to build resilient data networks that can help prevent and control new infectious disease outbreaks while interlinking the nation’s health data systems to meet some of CDC’s DMI goals. Here are some examples:

  • Initiatives enabling lab data sharing between CDC, public health labs, healthcare providers, and academic labs
  • EZ Data Exchange, a data infrastructure that NCEZID shares with all of CDC and which interacts with important central data resources at CDC, while handling data that NCEZID and partners use to track the spread of infectious diseases
  • Expanding the National Healthcare Safety Network, the nation’s most widely used system to track infections associated with healthcare settings