aerial view of pedestrians walking across the street
aerial view of pedestrians walking across the street

Health, Data and Analytics, Public Health 14 MIN Listen

Podcast: Data Sharing Advances Public Health

August 10th, 2023


Keeping IT Brief


Learn more about GDIT’s public health mission support.

Public Health’s main mission is making sure the greater good is taken into account to make the world a better place. Now, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of modernization initiatives are occurring across federal, state, local and tribal level public health agencies.

There are challenges facing this public health missions, particularly in the way data is shared. Those serving in public health didn’t always speak the same language; there isn’t a common library of public health technology. And as a result, there are challenges when systems try talking to each other, clinical data is being shared to public health, or when public health departments share data with each other or directly to the CDC.

Whenever data is shared, there has to be a standard way the data is interpreted.

Electronic initial case reports (EICR) are a way for clinical providers to electronically send data securely to public health. This became a very important data stream during the pandemic. But while this huge data stream was coming in, it was hard to make sense of it all.

There needs to be the extra step to enhance this flow of data, to filter out the noise and make it actionable for decisionmakers. When state, local and territorial health departments able to do this, there will be this really great picture at the national level of what’s going on, providing data at the speed of need.

We are at an exciting time in public health seeing these modernization efforts transform the way data can be used. The standardization of vocabulary and of systems, making things that are scalable, and extensible, open source, and cloud enabled. Ultimately to have a standard way to translate the data being received into something meaningful and actionable.

Right now is a very exciting time to be in public health. There’s so much passion now and funding that’s going into modernizing the public health infrastructure and the systems that are used to track amazing amounts of data and to make decisions that are going to make our lives better.

Christi Hildebrandt

CDC Program Manager