How did we get here?

DMI Basics: The Why, What, and How of Data Modernization

DMI was years in the making and is a result of sustained effort from CDC and its partners.

  • It follows and expands on CDC’s Surveillance Strategy, which made significant progress on core surveillance systems but lacked the funding and resources we needed and was limited in scope.
    • The Surveillance Strategy opened the door for much of the work being done today.
  • At the same time, complex emergencies like opioids and vaping were already exposing dangerous gaps in public health capacity and infrastructure.
  • Critical partners including the “Data: Elemental to Health” partners – CSTE, APHL, HIMSS, NAPHSIS – along with key partners such as ASTHO, NACCHO, TFAH, and others began sounding the alarm to Congress and were essential in making the case for major, sustained investment in data modernization.

In 2020, we received dedicated modernization funding for the first time, from two appropriations:

  • $50M in FY20 appropriations
  • $500M in CARES Act funding

    “The nation’s public health data systems are antiquated and in dire need of security upgrades – paper records, phone calls, spreadsheets and faxes requiring manual data entry are still are in widespread use and have significant consequences including delayed detection and response, lost time, missed opportunities, and lost lives.”

    Janet Hamilton, Executive Director, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

CDC engaged in an agency-wide process for determining how to maximize this investment, which included:

  • Engagement with CDC programs and partners to identify modernization needs
  • Emphasis on supporting enterprise solutions, moving away from a siloed approach
  • Consolidation of these diverse needs into core thematic areas

FY 2021 appropriation has provided CDC with $50 million to continue data modernization activities.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act provides an additional $500 million to CDC to advance surveillance and analytics infrastructure, as well as to establish a forecasting center for emerging biological threats.

The dedicated modernization annual appropriation increased to $100M in FY 2022 and $175M in FY 2023.