Surveillance Strategy Report — Our Progress


Newer. Faster. Smarter. Better.

Why It Matters

CDC works around the clock to get the right information into the right hands at the right time. To meet increasing demands for speed and accuracy, we must constantly improve how we track and report illness and other health conditions. In response to recommendations to transform and modernize CDC’s surveillance systems and approaches, we are:

  • Improving availability and timeliness of data
  • Adopting new technologies to improve accuracy and speed of disease reporting
  • Reducing reporting burden on health departments
  • Maximizing performance of agency resources


Public health surveillance is defined as the regular collection, analysis, use, and sharing of data to prevent and control disease and injury.
Source: MMWR. 2012;61(Suppl):1–40.

Pulse Check: Our Progress (compliant)

System Improvements in Public Health Surveillance*

2014 2018 Impact
Mortality records collected electronically from states within 10 days 29% 63% Faster notification of
cause of death
U.S. population represented by states and jurisdictions implementing modernized electronic messages to send notifiable disease case reports to CDC N/A 80% Easier for states to report to CDC
Emergency department visits reported electronically to health departments 45% 60% Faster understanding
of emerging health
Laboratory reports received electronically at state health departments** 54% 80% More timely lab reporting to expedite tracking disease

* Percentage change furthered by CDC Surveillance Strategy (as of September 2018); provisional data represented
** Approximately 20 million laboratory reports are received annually at health departments

System Improvements in Public Health Surveillance: Why It Matters

Peter Briss, MD, MPH,
Jason Bonander, MA

Timely and accurate data at the local level ensures a fuller picture of health, better decision making, and faster public health action.

Keywords: chronic disease, informatics, electronic health record