At Health 2.0, HHS Chief Data Officer Mona Siddiqui spotlighted recent efforts, including some cloud-based dynamic data and mapping tools, to link far-flung data for better public health.
Speaking at the Health 2.0 Annual Conference in Santa Clara, California, this past week, Mona Siddiqui, chief data officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offered a progress report on some of the agencies population-focused data innovations across 50 states and five territories.
For example, she pointed to the HHS EmPOWER Program, which for the past six years has helped get mission critical data to the frontlines in “fractions in a second” for vulnerable populations in disasters such as Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires.
A joint project of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, EmPOWER is designed to serve at-risk populations by ensuring continuity of care and services during emergencies and natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires.
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“Its dynamic data and mapping tools help communities identify and protect the health of more than 4.1 million at-risk Medicare beneficiaries,” said Siddiqui. During Dorian, “health departments in Florida and North Carolina used this data to rapidly identify and reach out to the electricity dependent populations.”
HHS’ Immunization Gateway, meanwhile, which was launched in 2013 to boost consumer access to immunization records and enable more informed patient decisions, has helped improve population health by breaking down silos and filling in critical missing pieces.
“Since many public health immunization information systems are structured by jurisdiction, records and others may contain enormous gaps,” said Siddiqui. “To bridge that gap, more state exchange between immunization systems is needed to ensure that doctors are able to have complete access to the record.”
She also touted the recent success of a collaborative tool to update mapping of drug disposal sites on Google Maps, inspired by a winning solution from the HHS Opioid Codeathon in 2017.
“It shows the power of sharing this data,” said Siddiqui
“The scope and scale of data which HHS is the steward of is enormous,” she said. “The efforts that are undertaken by frontline staff every day to ensure that the right information is getting connected to address a public health crisis or to try and anticipate an emerging public health threat are herculean. I think it’s not overstating it to say that the examples I was sharing and countless others, connecting disparate information in these ways and deploying it, with partnerships with both public and private entities, is saving lives.”
Siddiqui emphasized that the power and potential of data is only possible if the data can be translated into actionable information.
“Knowing the tremendous potential of connected data has fueled our efforts at HHS to make the department a more interoperable healthcare organization,” she explained. “While I’ve highlighted some tremendous examples of how connected data can save lives, each of these individual programs has taken an enormous level of effort to build and to execute.”
Date: September 27, 2019
Source: Healthcare IT News