CDC seeks new data toolkit

Shutterstock image: ebola virus.

WHAT: A request for information on data analysis and visualization by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WHY: Ebola, that's why!

That might be a slight exaggeration, but the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the presence of the disease on U.S. shores points to the need for a one-stop shop for electronic epidemiology tracking among the federal government's top public health agency. The CDC faces challenges in collecting, integrating, analyzing and sharing data, whether during routine flu season surveillance or in the course of emergency investigations, according to the recent RFI.

CDC's data isn't standardized across existing IT systems, visualization is handled differently in different business units, many data collection and aggregation practices rely on manual input and quality control checking, and there are acute limits to the agency's ability to reuse data across programs.

A new project called Data Collation and Integration for Public Health Event Responses (DCIPHER) is looking to change all that. According to the RFI, the CDC needs "a single electronic platform that integrates, manages, analyzes, visualizes, reports on and shares key surveillance, epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental findings during public health investigations and responses." The Ebola outbreak isn't mentioned in the RFI, but it does come up in answers to vendor questions about how the system would be used to gather information on individual cases and events that fall outside of routine surveillance activities.

Click here to read the RFI.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Nov 05, 2014 at 12:39 PM


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