Getting back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic would be getting back to a normal where Americans were vulnerable to that form of devastation. COVID-19 has made us aware that public health and economic prosperity are linked. The threat of emerging viruses has been, and continues to be, one of our nation’s greatest threats. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40 public health leaders and corporate health executives met to identify and outline solutions to strengthen our nation’s response to COVID-19. They also discussed ways to move forward and protect us from other emerging viruses. They call to modernize public health infrastructure and for other changes for the betterment of American public health.
Public health experts have stated that a modernized public health infrastructure could have saved more lives from COVID-19 and protected against some of the economic fallout. They advocate that spending be reorganized to update public health technologies and data systems. They also named strengthening partnerships across sectors, effectively coordinating with the federal government, hiring more specialized healthcare workers and addressing systemic injustices as key to a more effective public healthcare system.
The roadmap outlined by these experts to improve public health includes updated technologies because these are essential in times of crisis. These data systems and the information exchanges between public health centers and immunization registries is vital to a faster and more effective response to viral threats on the American public. These data systems make sure public health workers have the information they need to make the right decisions and to employ the right strategies in response to public health emergencies. These technologies are used to track emerging threats, monitor at-risk populations, prevent disease, and promote wellness within our communities.
As public health experts work towards ending and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, they hope to ensure America is better prepared to address future public health crises. It is important not to take this pandemic as a standalone incident and to be prepared when, and not if, another virus outbreak occurs. The government has been offering more funding towards public health infrastructure of late and some legislators are moving to create mainstay funding to keep public health data systems and infrastructure continually updated.
If your public health agency has received funding to modernize your public health infrastructure and you are now in the process of shopping for a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution, be sure to do your due diligence and evaluate vendors. Consider those that specialize in public health and find out whether their solution will allow you to connect with immunization registries and HIEs for greater access to health information and faster response time during a public health emergency. Any tools they offer for mass vaccination will also help.