Public Health Information and Technology Infrastructure Modernization Funding Report

A person checks their health record on a tablet

HIMSS provides public policy and guidance on the core investment strategies that support health system transformation and public health data modernization based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidance builds upon strategic goals outlined in the 2020 HIMSS COVID-19 Global Policy Call to Action and emphasizes the public policy and business processes that must transform in order to securely transmit bi-directional reports electronically to public health agencies, healthcare facilities and health data exchanges in the U.S.

As recommended in the HHS Report Public Health 3.0: A Call to Action to Create a 21st Century Public Health Infrastructure, we need to develop timely, locally relevant health information systems across state, territorial, local and tribal (STLT) governmental health agencies. Currently STLTs rely on outdated data, merged across years to improve sample size and not actionable at the neighborhood level.

HIMSS calls on Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the necessary interoperable technology (hardware and software) to receive public health data (as defined by the Promoting Interoperability Program) and other data required to perform critical public health tasks (contact tracing) from health systems.

STLTs must be equipped to analyze and share electronically transmissible visualized data and insights with eligible hospitals. Suppose we do not have the infrastructure to receive and analyze the data that the federal government requires public health authorities and healthcare systems to collect and report. In that case, we lose any value that could be gained from core lessons learned from the COVID-19 response and data collection.

The priority areas for modernization in the next 1-3 years are as follows:

  • Build a foundation of interoperable platforms to facilitate broad-based data exchange:
    • Immunization registry reporting
    • Syndromic disease surveillance reporting
    • Electronic case reporting and contact tracing
    • Public health registry reporting
    • Vital records reporting
    • Electronic reportable laboratory results reporting
    • Develop local public health informatics workforce and systems compatibility

Modernization must also include the following recommended programs and resources for meaningful and sustained system transformation by 2030:

  • Support the coordination of easy, trusted and secure access of multi-modal health data across virtual, remote or in-person services
  • Establish a nimble rapid cycle learning health system environment (analytics, strategic coordination)
  • Improve health IT innovations and workforce capacity to support cross-sector data analytics, visualization, reporting and care coordination platforms
  • Build a foundation of interoperable platforms to facilitate broad-based data exchange, health data analysis, visualization and reporting