The public health data systems of the future will be bolstered by a federal-level vision of the key capabilities, architecture, and frameworks public health agencies need to enable real-time data-sharing. Federal agency leaders and partners will specify the types of data that will be collected by every community, known as a minimum public health data set. This will include not only data on population disease status, lab tests, and immunizations, but also genomic-sequenced lab data and measures of community wellbeing related to drivers of health.
Instead of point-in-time views into a small number of data elements extracted from individual health care encounters, the system will hinge on longitudinal, interoperable public health data. These will be built on data that cuts across public health concerns. (See sidebar, Reimagining actionable, reliable public health data, for two examples of such data.
The minimum public health data set will be collected in real time as much as possible in every community across the United States and will be viewable at multiple geographic levels, aggregated at the census tract level, and rolled up to local and state health department jurisdictions. Defining new indicators will help communities to measure and improve health outcomes, create better local policies, attract state funding, and meet state reporting requirements. Federal agency leadership has already begun work to define these standards.39
These standards will be supported by a governance organization in each state to oversee public health data collection and storage.This is often referred to as a PHDGO. The PHDGO will determine the collection, ownership, and decision rights of the minimum public health data set and additional public health data in each state. It will be composed of public health leaders, private sector representatives, and community stakeholders appointed by state governors.
Privacy will be protected using deidentified data and privacy features codesigned by community representatives. Moreover, leveraging models like smart health communities will empower individuals to proactively manage their health, fostering a sense of belonging using digital technology, behavioral science, and data-driven community decision-making.
Combining multiple sources of real-time data from multiple sectors can empower public health leaders to identify health trends and respond to potential threats. Ecosystems partners can both contribute to and benefit from predictive data analytics. Leveraging this data, leaders can tailor solutions to specific populations or even neighborhoods.