Public Health Data Modernization

Executive Summary

Listening Session on Real-World Testing of 21st Century Cures Act Requirements

Background and Goals

Public Health Data Modernization Executive Summary 2020 cover

The universal health data application programming interfaces (APIs) called for in the 21st Century Cures Act present an opportunity for public health to access valuable information on cohorts and populations. Real world testing is needed to demonstrate how this emerging lingua franca can help public health—at all levels from local to national—to obtain timely, accurate, and actionable data from electronic health records.

Building on the momentum of its Data Modernization Initiative, CDC hosted a listening session on  July 16, 2020, to discuss ways emerging standards—including but not limited to standardized APIs for population level data, often referred to as bulk data—could benefit public health. This meeting brought together key stakeholders from across public health and healthcare, including the Deputy Director for Public Health Science and Surveillance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); representatives from state and local public health agencies; the Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and other members of the ONC staff; as well as representatives from health systems and technology innovators.

The goals of the meeting were to:

  • Understand how recent changes in the regulatory environment may benefit public health, including but not limited to the US Core Data Elements for Interoperability and best practices for accessing bulk data;
  • Identify the technical aspects that need to be addressed to conduct real-world testing of electronic health record interoperability standards newly regulated by ONC; and
  • Outline policy and socio-regulatory considerations pertaining to patient privacy and accessing data from electronic health records at scale.