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CDC Launches Public Health Data Exchange Interoperability Center

CDC has announced the creation of a new center that aims to boost public health data exchange interoperability to prepare for future emergencies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new center that aims to accelerate public health data exchange interoperability to support public health forecasting. 

Once established, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together expert disease modelers, public health data, and public health emergency responders to accelerate the use of data for public health decision-making.

The center’s goal is to provide public health officials with the information they need to mitigate the effects of disease threats. The center will also support innovation and research on disease modeling.

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

Initial funding for the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will come from the American Rescue Plan. The center will focus on three key functions: connection, prediction, and information.

The center will set out to promote interoperability across the healthcare industry for public health data exchange.

Additionally, the center will set out to support the use of open-source software and application programming interfaces (APIs) for public health through data exchange.

Next, The CDC’s new center will work to predict upcoming public health threats through modeling and forecasting. The center will also predict public health threats through research and innovation in outbreak analytics and the establishment of appropriate forecasting horizons.

Lastly, the new center will seek to inform healthcare stakeholders about public health outbreaks by translating and communicating outbreak forecasts. This is set to connect key decision-makers across sectors including government, businesses, and non-profits to support unified public communication efforts.

The leadership team in charge of the development and implementation of a strategy to establish the center includes Marc Lipsitch who will serve as director for science; Dylan George who will serve as director for operations; Caitlin Rivers who will serve as associate director; and Rebecca Kahn who will serve as senior scientist.

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

“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 US desperately needs this capability, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help build it.”

After the devastating effects of COVID-19, improving the nation’s ability to exchange health information quickly and efficiently is expected to support public health efforts and better prepare the nation for future emergencies. 

“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 Lipsitch.

“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 continued.

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