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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Strengthening digital preparedness across the public health ecosystem

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Helping Centers for Disease Control and Prevention develop more holistic and interoperable approaches to public health reporting, and position itself as a leader in data modernization.

About CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the nation’s health protection agency, working 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

The challenge

How might we increase digital preparedness across the public health ecosystem to help predict health threats and improve health outcomes?

The project

The Public Health Data Modernization Initiative will help CDC to respond to health threats as they occur and scale up public health surveillance, prevention and response efforts nationwide during pandemics and other emergencies. As part of this effort, CDC’s Deputy Director for Public Health Science and Surveillance is seeking two Presidential Innovation Fellows to work on the following challenges:

Health Record Interoperability

Public health organizations—at all levels, from local to national—struggle to obtain timely, accurate and actionable data from electronic health records and other primary sources of health data. The burden of making data flow seamlessly is felt throughout the ecosystem, but especially by data providers (who are overwhelmed and confused by duplicative requests) and by State, Tribal, Local and Territorial public health agencies (who shoulder the responsibility to contain disease outbreaks and provide other front-line prevention and response measures). Without radical transformation, the current state of public health reporting will continue to be marred by delays, incomplete coverage, and arduous processes to link data across disparate, disease-specific reporting streams. The PIF would work to help CDC respond to the following challenges: How might CDC develop more holistic and interoperable approaches to public health reporting and test these approaches in real-world settings? How can we drive industry progress to help ensure health IT standards adopted nationwide meet public health needs?

Transition to Data Analytics and Innovation

CDC is embarking on an ambitious transformation that will shift focus to open standards, open APIs and open architectures to facilitate data analytics that attract new innovators to public health. This will necessitate changes in culture throughout the organization. The PIF would work to help CDC respond to the following challenges: How can CDC position itself as a leader in the adoption and use of proven innovation practices for data modernization? What types of systems, processes and people will the CDC need to achieve this vision? How can CDC develop and maintain strong relationships and strategic partnerships with private sector, academic and other third-party innovators? How can the use of new tools and approaches accelerate this transition to open standards and innovation?

For these projects, the CDC is looking for the following skill sets: digital strategy, organizational transformation, product management, and deep expertise in the healthcare industry, especially in the areas of health record interoperability, system architecture, data science, and Health Level Seven’s (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard.