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Better Collection, Better Data

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to improve how it collects and analyzes data, Politico reports. It adds that in a letter to CDC employees, Director Rochelle Walensky urged them to help with the "success of the Data Modernization Initiative''

The agency, Politico notes, suffered from data gaps that hindered its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC relies on state and local health departments to collect and provide it with lab and hospital records, but as Politico points out, local health departments are typically underfunded and many have not updated their data collection methods — some, it says, rely on labs to fax their results. It adds that during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump Administration created HHS Protect and tapped private contractor TeleTracking to amass data CDC struggled to get.

According to Politico, the new data modernization effort includes $3 billion in funding for local health departments to recruit new and train existing employees to improve local data collection systems. It adds that CDC has also recently taken over the TeleTracking program.

The hope, Dan Jernigan, the CDC's deputy director for Public Health Science and Surveillance, tells Politico, is to have a system with real-time public health data and analysis.