If you have any questions about this policy proposal, please send an email to grassroots@shea-online.org.

Background

The Current Infrastructure

The United States’ public health data system relies on antiquated, fragmented, time consuming, and error prone processes—such as paper records, faxes, and phone calls—which impacts quality, timeliness, and communication for a public health response, such as notification of an infectious disease outbreak. 

The current public health data infrastructure also lacks automation, security, interoperability, and a skilled workforce, which will successfully confront public health threats today and tomorrow. 

The Role of Modernization

By modernizing public health data infrastructure and public health surveillance (interactive system of government public health agencies), public health officials and policymakers will have access to a larger amount, more accurate, and faster public health data yielded by secure, interoperable and integrated systems.

This modernization will allow for better decisions to be made and for officials and experts to get ahead of chronic, emerging, and urgent threats facing our state, local, tribal, and territorial communities.

 What is the Saving Lives Through Better Data Act?

The Saving Lives Through Better Data Act of 2019 will drastically reduce the time to detect and act on public health emergencies. To build the 21st century public health data infrastructure, grant funding by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would be awarded to eligible state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, if legislation is approved.

The bill will look to improve data collection, simplify provider reporting, enhance interoperability, promote electronic reporting, and support earlier disease detection and response. The CDC, according to currently proposed legislation, will develop and utilize the fostering of public-private partnerships to support such an expansion of public health data systems.

Where does SHEA stand?

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) supports proposed legislation to modernize public health data, transmission and surveillance systems to save lives in our state, local, tribal, and territorial communities.

SHEA urges Congress to appropriate $1 billion over 10 years beginning in FY2020. SHEA believes these funds are needed to modernize state, local, tribal, and territorial public health data systems to ensure the safety of the greater public.

What is SHEA doing about this?

SHEA is working with coalition partners to urge congress to pass this bill. SHEA is also encouraging members of Congress to appropriate funding in FY 2020 and beyond to move this effort forward and begin the important work of bringing public health data systems into the 21st century.

How can I get involved?

SHEA understands and appreciates your desire to stay informed and to get directly involved in SHEA’s next steps. To receive regular updates and to receive instructions on how to get involved, join SHEA’s Grassroots Network by texting PREVENTION to 52886 or sending an email grassroots@shea-online.org with the subject line “Subscribe.”

To become involved on social media, use the hashtag #BetterDataBetterLives.

Currently Proposed Legislation