July 16, 2020

COVID-19 data reporting moved to HHS

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on July 15 announced that in a move to improve information gathering and resource allocation, hospitals will begin sending their COVID-19 related data directly through HHS Protect or TeleTracking rather than submitting it the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

CDC director Robert Redfield said this change “reduces the reporting burden—it reduces confusion and duplication of reporting. Streamlining reporting enables us to distribute scarce resources using the best possible data. No one is taking access or data away from CDC.”


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He added that the change has no effect on the CDC’s ability to use the data or to continue putting out daily data. In fact, the new infrastructure provides the CDC team with easier access to a much broader variety of data sets than they would have without it.

HHS’s chief information officer, Jose Arrieta, noted that it became clear they needed a central way to make the data available to federal, state, and local levels, and they needed to collect data as fast as possible.

He added that as for as concerns about the integrity of the database, the data can’t be manipulated, given the broad rang of elements collected. “If someone were to try to change the data outside the system, a record of that would be made.”

The data involve statistics such as ICU capacity and bed utilization. By bringing it into the HHS database, the Coronavirus Task Force will be better able to reallocate resources quickly where they are most needed, he says.

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