WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2020): Today the Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) sent letters to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Congress on how to best modernize and invest in the public health data tools and infrastructure so current and future pandemics will take a lower toll on the country and the world.
“With Policymakers need to take decisive action to get essential data such as lab test results, immunology, and vaccinations to providers who need it most–in real time”, said HIA Executive Director Joel White. “With Congress putting $1.5 billion in funding on the table, now is the time to create a lasting foundation so we don’t take a step back to the days of infection estimates, missing data, and reporting lag times.”
Specifically the Alliance recommends:
- Standardized Data. Public health data should be standardized and reported electronically in the same way across all systems nationwide in all jurisdictions as a condition of investment. HHS should work with the existing Standards Data Organizations (SDOs) to make this a reality.
- Modern Tools. Actionable information should be made available to all actors who need it to maximize public health and clinical outcomes. A public health data framework should require that usable information be available when its needed, within workflow, and across public health and clinical systems.
- Translating Public Health Data Into Patient Outcomes. Providers are a front-line defense against the virus, but they need to be armed with the right information to effectively do their work. This means knowing a patient’s lab results, vaccine status, and any medications used. In order to populate this data in real time, we need to implement a system that connects those at the point-of-care with payers and the appropriate public health authorities. This technology could be built off of the existing ePrescribing and claims adjudication processes that run nearly four billion pharmacy transactions per year seamlessly and in real-time.
- Robust Research and Analysis. Valuable public health data should be available on a secure hybrid cloud architecture so that deidentified information can be made available widely for research and analytics. Aggregated, big data can be the engine for powerful artificial intelligence (AI) solutions already used in private-sector efforts. For example, AI can predict the spread of disease, assess current resources, and better manage the flow of supplies to meet capacity issues, like where to direct masks, ventilators, and clinicians. CDC should have an AI strategy as part of its data and analysis goals.
- A Modern Data Framework Requires Interoperability and Privacy. Current law and privacy restrictions make it difficult to share health data — and almost impossible to do so in real-time. In fact, patients have difficulty getting their own health information from their own doctor’s office, much less getting one office to send a record to another office. This problem is largely due to the outdated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), confusing federal regulations, and conflicting state laws intended to protect patient privacy. HHS and Congress must act to set a uniform, nationwide law outlining how health information can and will be shared going forward. Any such law must establish strong privacy protections for patients and their families. The necessity to use technology and big data nationwide and globally cannot be achieved through a patchwork of conflicting state laws.
- Public-Private Partnership. The CDC should use high-performance computing systems through pooled supercomputing capacity to allow researchers to run large amounts of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. Such supercomputing should be done in a public-private partnership with the best tools and minds across research, technology, and government institutions to help deliver the best and most timely results.
About Health Innovation Alliance:
HIA is an organization of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, insurers, and startup innovators committed to transforming healthcare. The Health Innovation Alliance exists to improve healthcare by advancing healthcare connectivity, unlocking the abundance of useful data in our healthcare system, modernizing data privacy, and fundamentally redefining care delivery. Learn more at Health-Innovation.org.