Public health surveillance is an interactive system of government public health agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels, working with healthcare providers and the public to detect, report and prevent illness and death. It consists of continuous and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data that can be used to inform, implement and evaluate public health interventions.
Our nation’s public health surveillance infrastructure is antiquated and often relies on obsolete surveillance methods, leading to delayed detection and response to public health threats.
The development of modern, 21st-century public health data systems has long been ignored and remains woefully underfunded. We must commit to transforming our public health surveillance into a state-of-the-art, secure and fully interoperable system that will save lives and get ahead of chronic, emerging and urgent threats to our public health.
Federal- and state-focused policy initiatives may strengthen states’ health IT infrastructure by building a culture of health through smart communities/cities initiatives, which utilize advances in transportation, energy and information technology to enhance a city’s livability, productivity, sustainability and resilience. State policies that enable and promote the intelligent implementation of emerging communications, transportation and energy technologies, and the public-private partnerships that can leverage these technologies, can help states access a variety of economic and livability benefits.