Data Modernization

To serve our communities equitably, governmental health departments (i.e., state, local, Tribal health departments) need access to modern, real-time, hyperlocal data and tools. These are critical in understanding the needs of our communities, making data-driven decisions that address community priorities, and transforming public health infrastructure. Governmental public health in the United States currently lacks modern data systems and structures to do this, which have had a direct and negative impact on health and equity.

In January 2022, PHNCI launched a new initiative aimed at supporting the modernization and transformation of data infrastructure and systems in governmental health departments. PHNCI will:

  • Focus on data modernization efforts as part of our 21C initiative.
    • 21C states will have access to peer learning and subject matter experts to advance their efforts in this area.
  • Engage up to three 21C state public health systems to begin implementing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems.
  • Disseminate learnings and innovations with the field at large.
  • Develop an excellence recognition program that recognizes health departments who are conducting exemplary work related to data modernization and will be designed to highlight work that exceeds the PHAB accreditation standards.
    • Through partnership with key stakeholders, data from 21C and accreditation efforts, and a Think Tank convening, we will establish national criteria for health department data excellence that will focus on equity-focused, multisector data systems.
    • Exemplary work will be collected and shared broadly as examples to help drive the field forward.
    • Ensure coordination across various national and regional initiatives focused on public health transformation and modernization to share practices, data, and align efforts as appropriate.

To transform public health data systems, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems developed three recommendations:

  • Center health equity and well-being in narrative change
  • Prioritize equitable governance and community engagement
  • Ensure public health measurement captures and addresses structural racism and other inequities

PHNCI will be engaging several 21C states to serve as a Learning Lab in implementing the recommendations for data modernization practices. Efforts will include stakeholder and power mapping, developing a plan to prioritize and begin implementation of the Recommendations, and documenting lessons learned, challenges, and leading practices for advancing data systems transformation that centers equity.