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CDC Wants Lawmakers to Fund Public Health Data Modernization Initiative

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Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on House lawmakers to fund the existing Public Health Data Modernization Initiative that seeks to invest in new technology platforms that detect, monitor and analyze trends associated with disease outbreaks, FCW reported Tuesday.

The initiative includes the modernization of software tools and related systems, expansion of private and public partnerships to track the spread of viruses and other health concerns and efforts to advance interoperability with stakeholder platforms.

Ileana Arias, associate deputy director for public health science and surveillance at CDC, testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee’s subpanel on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies and responded to a question by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the subcommittee’s chair, about what might have been different in CDC’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak if public health data system modernization efforts had been implemented.

"One is that we would have detected it much, much sooner and been able to contain it further and more effectively," said Arias. "The other is even before detecting … and analyzing that information along with health data, we could have started to see that there might have been a problem even before getting scared about the number of cases being detected."

Arias noted that CDC is finalizing a multiyear plan detailing the agency’s funding needs to support the modernization of its public health data systems.