NLM Director: Pursuing Data-Driven Responses to Public Health Threats

“… In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden has issued  executive orders to accelerate the country’s ability to respond to public health threats.”

“This is where I come in. As Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and a member of the leadership team of the National Institutes of Health, I’m part of a group developing the implementation plan for the Executive Order entitled Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats.”

“This order directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to work on COVID-19 and pandemic-related data issues. This  includes making data that is relevant to high-consequence public health threats accessible to everyone, reviewing existing public health data systems to issue recommendations for addressing areas for improvement, and reviewing the workforce capacity for advanced information technology and data management. And, like all good government work, a report summarizing findings and providing recommendations will be issued.”

“Since March 2021, I have been meeting 2 to 3 times a month with public health and health data experts across the U.S. Department of  Health & Human Services (HHS). Our committee includes staff from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.”

“After creating a work plan, our group arranged briefings with many  other groups, including public health officials from states and territories, representatives from major health care systems, and the  public, among others. We reviewed many initiatives to promote open data, data sharing, and data protection across the government sphere. We learned about the challenges of developing and adopting data standards, and the ability of different groups to come together to make data more  useful in preparing the country to anticipate and respond to  high-consequence public health threats. We discussed future strategies for data management and data protection, new analytical models, and  workforce development initiatives. Our working group provided a report to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), handing it off to the next team who will take the work process and keep moving it toward completion. In coordination with the National Science and Technology Council, OSTP will develop a plan for advancing innovation in public health data and analytics…” Read the full article here.

Source: Pursuing Data-Driven Responses to Public Health Threats – By Patti Brennan, October 6, 2021. National Library of Medicine.

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