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Ready or Not: New Report on Protecting the Public’s Health

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Ready or Not: New Report on Protecting the Public’s Health

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released its 2019 edition of what it hopes will be an annual report, Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and ...

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released its 2019 edition of what it hopes will be an annual report, Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism last February. The ground-breaking report warns about key global challenges ahead, like the risk of a flu pandemic; the impact of weather pattern changes due to climate change; the dangers of antimicrobial resistance, and others, and tries to offer advice on how to prepare for them.

In Section 1 of the report, titled Health Threats: A Review of 2018, the authors review a litany of disease outbreaks, and severe weather and natural disaster events. They note the incidents, actions, and corresponding research findings, meetings, and events related to each. On the policy front, they note the September 2018 release by the White House of its National Biodefense Strategy (see earlier article on this topic). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released another report,  Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities, in October 2018 (updated in January 2019). This section of the TFAH report also reviews the various activities of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

Public Health Organizations Implore Congress to Fund Public Health Surveillance Systems

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Public Health Organizations Implore Congress to Fund Public Health Surveillance Systems

HLN joined more than eighty organizations, institutions and companies in imploring Congress to fund public health surveillance systems. The appropriations request letters - one to ...

HLN joined more than eighty organizations, institutions and companies in imploring Congress to fund public health surveillance systems. The appropriations request letters – one to the House and one to the Senate – is seeking $1 billion over ten years (and $100 million in FY 2020) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to allow CDC, state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments to move from sluggish, manual, paper-based data collection to seamless, automated, interoperable IT systems and to recruit and retain skilled data scientists to use them.

HLN has been at the forefront of systems development in public health, and has long advocated for the modernization of public health registries and other systems. This initiative is focused on public health surveillance systems, and HLN’s work on the Reportable Condition Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) supports the electronic case reporting (eCR) initiative described in a flyer describing the details of this initiative published by a set of leading public health organizations.

HLN encourages everyone to advocate for these needed funds at every opportunity.

See Congressional testimony by Janet Hamilton of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

So I Survived HIMSS19…

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So I Survived HIMSS19…

This was perhaps more of a fete than it initially seems. The conference was massive, with over 40,000 attendees. It centered around a trade show exhibit hall that spanned multiple ...

This was perhaps more of a fete than it initially seems. The conference was massive, with over 40,000 attendees. It centered around a trade show exhibit hall that spanned multiple football fields in length. In some ways it was so big that I felt somewhat discouraged from attending some educational sessions because they were located so far from where I was hanging out that I could get back and forth in time.

So I spent most of my time at the Interoperability Showcase since HLN was participating in two of the use cases: Immunization Integration & CDS, featuring our ICE open source immunization evaluation and forecasting system; and Opioid Crisis, the Person & the Population, featuring our open source Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) as a component of electronic case reporting (eCR). We spent three days repeating every hour the presentation of a multi-step/multi-vendor scenario demonstrating standards-based interoperability between different systems. We had lots of folks come through with varying levels of interest, but this was a great opportunity to talk about open source and the solutions we make available.

But I did have a chance to attend a few sessions relevant to public health, the space I tend to monitor. On Tuesday of the conference, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a town hall meeting in a huge auditorium. They introduced their senior staff, reviewed their mandate, and answered questions from the audience. Their main focus was on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Improve the Interoperability of Health Information that was released just before the conference (more on that in my blog on this topic). I also had the opportunity to attend several events sponsored by the HIMSS State Advisory Roundtable which is a policy advisory group made up of influential state and national leaders. Interoperability continued to be the hot topic with a mixture of lament for our seeming lack of progress and hope for the future.