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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week the creation of a new center designed to accelerate access to data in the face of public health threats.  

According to the agency, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will act as a hub for innovation and research on disease modeling while prioritizing equity and accessibility.  

“This is an amazing opportunity for CDC and public health as we stand up the country’s first government-wide public health forecasting center,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky in a statement.   

“We are excited to have the expertise and ability to model and forecast public health concerns and share information in real time to activate governmental, private sector and public actions in anticipation of threats both domestically and abroad,” she added.  

WHY IT MATTERS  

The COVID-19 crisis has shined a harsh light on the country’s need for robust data analytics systems, crestor 5 mg n3 especially where diseases are concerned.  

Initially funded by the American Rescue Plan, the new center is designed to strengthen use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in decision-making.  

“I am thrilled to be joining an exceptional team at CDC to build new capabilities for the fight against pandemics,” said Dylan George, director for operations at the center.   

“Pandemics threaten our families and communities at speed and scale. Our response needs to move at speed and scale, too,” George continued. “The Center will provide critical information to communities so we can respond efficiently and effectively.”

The center will focus on prediction, connection, including maximizing interoperability and using API capabilities, and communication.   

“The U.S. desperately needs this capability, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help build it,” said George.  

THE LARGER TREND  

The U.S. federal response to COVID-19 from a data analytics perspective has been fraught with confusion – and sometimes chaos.   

Last summer, former President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services suddenly asked hospitals to bypass the CDC when reporting data on COVID-19 patients.   

The new system, HHS Protect, is still in place – but as case rates begin to climb again, questions remain as to which information the agencies are tracking, and how.  

At a recent HIMSS21 Global Conference Digital session, Mary Woinarowicz, immunization information system manager at the North Dakota Department of Health, said she hoped to see more policy at the national level to better facilitate data sharing across state lines.  

When it comes to federal facilities sharing information with jurisdictions, she said, “We do recognize that we have this sort of gap.”  

ON THE RECORD  

“The new center will meet a longstanding need for a national focal point to analyze data and forecast the trajectory of pandemics with the express goal of informing and improving decisions with the best available evidence,” said Marc Lipsitch, who will serve as director for science at the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.  

“I am thrilled to be working with a great team at CDC to set it up, and excited to integrate the best and most innovative ideas from academia, the private sector and government to make this a reality that will truly improve our response to future pandemics, and indeed to other infectious diseases,” he said.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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