Authors: Joel White & Doug Badger, Heritage Foundation Report
Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the disastrous public health consequences of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) failure to follow multiple congressional mandates to modernize its data infrastructure. Current reporting methods are burdensome for frontline medical workers, yet result only in fragmented data that is not available in real time or usable across systems. Congress should require the HHS to prioritize the electronic collection and dissemination of robust, privacy-protected data that better leverages existing systems while reducing burdens on clinicians. The HHS should also quickly enter into a public-private partnership with a data management expert to develop a system that makes critical information available to health care workers and policymakers in real time.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, despite billion-dollar budgets and a mandate from Congress, the CDC failed to follow the law and modernize data collection.
- It is unconscionable that frontline medical workers and policymakers do not have information from the CDC that allows a more effective pandemic response.
- The HHS must collect sufficient data more efficiently while enforcing existing law’s strict penalties for those who fail to safeguard patient data.