What have we done so far?

Because of data modernization, we are already in a very different place than we were before the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we had no national system for tracking both positive and negative laboratory test results, which is necessary to measure the spread of disease in communities.

  • CDC created a new pathway for laboratory data through COVID electronic laboratory reporting (CELR), which now delivers more than a million test results per day.

When we began collecting data on COVID cases, only a handful of healthcare facilities were capable to sending electronic case reports (eCR), which automatically pull data from health records and deliver it to jurisdictions.

  • CDC worked with partners to exponentially increase the number of facilities with eCR capabilities — from just 187 facilities pre-pandemic to more than 13,000 today.
  • This massive scale-up of eCR has allowed many healthcare facilities to turn off their fax machines and send data to state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) health departments more easily than ever before.

The pandemic also underscored the need for a comprehensive system to track and understand the impacts of vaccinations in adults.

  • CDC built a new immunization gateway that is not only handling an unprecedented influx of records but can also bring in and analyze completely new types of data.
  • This system has so far handled more than 415M unique administration records from 88 entities and is expanding vaccine effectiveness data through the EHR.

Especially at the state and local levels, data has been hampered by outdated technologies, including systems that are not automated, not scalable, and not in the cloud.

  • CDC is working with state and local partners to automate and streamline critical data flows across the core surveillance systems that handle cases, lab results, notifiable diseases, emergency visits, and deaths.
  • We are also collaborating with technology partners like ONC and HL7® on standards to make data interoperable across previously disconnected systems.
  • Inside CDC’s doors, we responded to the increased volume and velocity of data by standing up a cloud-based platform that allows our scientists to catalog, analyze, and publish findings faster than previously possible.

Through DMI, we are seeing possibilities now that we could not have imagined just a few short years ago.

  • Because of data modernization, we now have artificial intelligence detecting legionella dangers, more systems evaluating information on people’s social and mental well-being, and complex data for millions of genomes being sequenced that help us monitor COVID virus variants like Delta.
  • We have answered the public’s needs for information by applying machine learning and natural language processing to problems such as identifying cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and by creating the “Clara” COVID chatbot.
  • And, to take our data even further into the future, in August 2021 CDC stood up a new National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics that will enable public health to do more research, find better tools, and help CDC use data more efficiently, and translate and communicate what we learn more effectively.