Improving Health Through Better Data Exchange

Access to Richer, More Standardized Data for Public Health

All levels of public health, from the local to the national level, struggle to obtain timely, accurate and actionable information. The CDC Foundation is committed to supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Data Modernization Initiative—a multi-year, billion-plus dollar effort to modernize core data and surveillance infrastructure across the federal and state public health landscape.

A key component of CDC’s efforts is to make standardized data in electronic health records systems and rich details in clinical notes more easily available to public health through scalable technologies—this will help to provide accurate, actionable, open source, and privacy-protected information for better health outcomes.

Through the Strengthened Community Partnerships for More Holistic Approaches to Interoperability Project (CDC Foundation Interoperability Project), the CDC Foundation is partnering with public health, health care and other stakeholders to define, prioritize and test ways that public health can leverage new data standards outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act to access well processed, up-to-date information on cohorts and populations more efficiently. Access to these data can drive decision-making, inform the public more quickly and with greater precision, as well as build a transformational nationwide approach to public health informatics.

The level of standardization required in the 21st Century Cures Act presents an unprecedented opportunity for the public health sector to ensure that reproducible methods for accessing and analyzing clinical data for public health purposes can be more rapidly developed across sites of care nationwide. The CDC Foundation Interoperability Project is working to support emerging capabilities—specifically SMART on FHIR® and Bulk FHIR application programming interfaces (APIs)—which certified health information technology (IT) vendors are required to adopt through regulations promulgated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by 2022.

About the CDC Foundation Interoperability Project

The CDC Foundation’s longstanding and active support of CDC’s partnerships with state, local, territorial and tribal public health agencies and community organizations coupled with our multi-sectoral convening power helps catalyze collaborations as a means for transforming health care and public health use of these data in service to the public’s health. By engaging national leaders and experts, the CDC Foundation will develop and test innovative solutions to a range of data-related challenges and advance analytical capabilities for national, state, territorial, local and tribal public health to ensure the nation’s ability to respond effectively to existing and emerging public health threats.

Timely and actionable evidence is the cornerstone to an effective response to disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 and other public health priorities. The CDC Foundation recognizes the value of robust, quantitative approaches that support high quality, accurate, timely data that has broad utility and can be translated into action.

This web page is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3,600,000 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Design, Development and Engagement

The CDC Foundation Interoperability Project includes three related elements: Design, Development and Engagement:


Human-centered Design Sprints to prioritize public health use cases (functional requirements, design elements and architectural principles)

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Leverage Bulk FHIR Access API for Public Health Surveillance®
Test EHR Bulk FHIR Access API
Develop FHIR Enhancements



Listening Sessions
 – Policy Listening Session Meeting Summary
Priority Public Health Use Cases
After Action Reviews