Creation of collaborative databases, registries, and tools for information sharing
To foster increased collaboration within HHS, and between HHS and partner organizations, as well as with the public, the Department has focused on the development of a number of platforms and collaboration tools. These include the development and use of tracking and portfolio analysis tools, tools for analysis and visualization, cloud computing, collaborative spaces where information can be securely shared between two or more entities, and shared databases. Provided below are examples of how these new types of collaboration tools and platforms are being initiated across HHS.
- Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Portfolio Tracking and Coordination Initiative
The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) represents an integrated federal capability to identify, research, develop, acquire, maintain, distribute, dispense, and evaluate critical medical countermeasures (MCMs) such as vaccines, biologics, drugs, and diagnostics to protect and treat the population of the United States in the event of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) event whether intentional or accidental. To maximize the effectiveness of this resource, the CBRN Medical Countermeasures Portfolio Advisory Committee, which is responsible for providing portfolio analysis and recommendation to PHEMCE leadership, authorized the development of a portfolio tracking system to effectively and efficiently manage our overall investments. Since no such system existed for the PHEMCE arena, this initiative has been crafted to create a capability to enable real-time viewing of the integrated portfolio, conduct analyses, minimize duplication of effort and better anticipate transition points and hand-offs between agencies, and where possible reduce costs and/or development time.
The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Special Projects in coordination with the agencies involved in the Integrated Portfolio for CBRN MCMs has taken a leading role in developing a cost effective/low risk approach to capture and analyze portfolio data. By using innovative web and cloud technologies the proposed phased approach allows for quick and cost-effective deployment as well as system scalability and security to address current needs and new requirements going forward. The overarching goal of this initiative is to develop a set of PHEMCE common tools including project level tracking, cost, and risk that are based on common business processes and harmonized metrics to use for PHEMCE portfolio tracking and coordination. More information on the PHEMCE Review can be found at: http://www.phe.gov/preparedness/mcm/enterprisereview/Pages/default.aspx
In July 2012, this group will develop a core infrastructure and deliver aggregated analyses and dashboards for the PAC PHEMCE to use for portfolio management. By 2013 PHEMCE expects to move the data-collection component from a stand-alone excel-based application to a globally-accessible web-based user interface. The longer-term goal is to develop an integrated tracking system with other systems that support the financial and risk management components.
- Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research
CDC’s Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER) Informatics Program supports public access to online databases, reports, references, and links to external data systems containing a wide range of highly valuable public health information. The CDC WONDER supports collaboration through engaging in activities across government agencies and with nonprofit organizations. For example, CDC WONDER collaborates on providing statistical analysis and public access to data from data stewards in organizations across CDC and their external partners which include state health departments, local cancer registries, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), FDA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health. CDC WONDER also collaborates with external partners by sharing source code so partners can build and host their own online databases and informatics tools, and improve and enhance the WONDER source code base. More information on the CDC Wonder Program can be found at: http://wonder.cdc.gov/
In 2012-2013, CDC plans to continue collaborations with data stewards in organizations across CDC and their external partners in federal, state and local government, academic and private organizations (as listed above). CDC WONDER also plans to continue collaborative informatics activities with potential partners, such as the Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP) at the University of Florida College of Medicine, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the proposed Integrated Health Disparities Research Coordinating Center at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, and others.
- National Public Health Surveillance/Biosurveillance Registry
CDC’s National Public Health Surveillance/Biosurveillance Registry for Human Health (NPHSB Registry) is a comprehensive electronic catalog of over 280 CDC public health surveillance and biosurveillance assets related to human health. Launched in December 2012, the Registry provides information to foster collaboration among surveillance subject matter experts, and provides critical information about CDC’s surveillance capabilities to decision-makers as they address a wide range of public health preparedness and response issues that depend on effective coordination. The goal is to enable them to better coordinate their efforts to potentially identify and implement appropriate measures for prevention and intervention strategies. The registry is currently located on CDC’s intranet and available only to members of the CDC community. Pending the availability of resources, planned improvements to the Registry during 2012-2013 will allow end-users greater access to, and manipulation of, the information in the database to better meet their needs and inquiries. Pending the availability of resources, planned activities during 2013 -2104 include expanding access to the Registry to our federal, state, and local partners.