Surveillance Strategy Report — A Stepwise Approach

Our strategy to improve public health surveillance builds on prior progress inside and outside CDC. It prioritizes rapid improvements that can be made at CDC in the short term, while laying the groundwork for ongoing evaluation and modification of surveillance systems. It challenges CDC to transform and modernize our surveillance systems, demonstrate rapid improvements, and inspire trust with surveillance partners in the field, all using a stepwise approach.

Three goals and ten specific aims work as building blocks in the strategy:

Goal 1

Enhance the accountability, resource use, workforce, and innovation for surveillance at CDC and in support of federal and state, territorial, local, and tribal agencies.

The Surveillance Leadership Board provides oversight and accountability; the workforce training plan addresses surveillance workforce needs in the short and long term; and the CDC Health Information Innovation Consortium (CHIIC) promotes innovative solutions to surveillance challenges across CDC programs and in federal and state, tribal, local, and territorial agencies.

Goal 2

Accelerate the use of emerging tools and approaches to improve the availability of quality and timely surveillance data.

Senior policy and informatics experts at CDC oversee health information technology (HIT) policy engagement, HIT vendor forums, and surveillance-related efforts with the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT and other federal information technology regulators.

Goal 3

Demonstrate early success through four crosscutting surveillance system initiatives to improve public health surveillance outcomes.

These initiatives address specific strategic aims. Two additional strategic priorities were added to improve program and data integration at CDC and facilitate better connectivity between public health and health care.

  • Mortality reporting—Modernizing and transform the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) into a system capable of supporting near real-time mortality surveillance.
  • Notifiable diseases—Enhance surveillance capabilities of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) by improving data collection, sharing, and analysis across the entire public health community through the NNDSS Modernization Initiative (NMI).
  • Electronic laboratory reporting—Accelerate the adoption of electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) through collaboration among clinical laboratories, vendors, and public health agencies.
  • Syndromic surveillance—Improve public health’s ability to analyze, compare, and act on real-time data from emergency departments and other sources by enhancing the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) as part of the BioSense Modernization Initiative.

Ten Specific Aims Drive Three Strategic Goals

CDC EIS officer doing field work

  • Surveillance Leadership Board
  • Workforce plan
  • Innovation consortium
  • HIT policy engagement
  • HIT vendor forums
  • Informatics integration
  • Data availability
  • System usability
  • Reduced redundancy
  • New information technology