CDC Taps Into Data to Improve Disease Forecasting, Communication

Program seeks to enhance ability to use data, models, and analytics to enable timely, effective decision-making.

By Dan Hounsell

The nation’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities are not the only organizations that have struggled under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has run into problems regularly over the last two years, especially in its efforts to communicate with healthcare facilities and the general public about changing guidelines and procedures in response to evolving diseases, including masking and vaccinations. 

Now, the CDC is taking a major step aimed at improving its efforts to track, monitor and communicate changes regarding illnesses and public health threats. 

The CDC launched the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA). CFA seeks to enhance the nation’s ability to use data, models, and analytics to enable timely, effective decision-making in response to public health threats for CDC and its public health partners. 

The program aims to improve outbreak response using infectious disease modeling and analytics and to provide support to leaders at the federal, state, and local levels. CFA also will develop a program to provide insights about infectious disease events to the public to inform individual decision making – the equivalent of the National Weather Service for infectious diseases. 

CFA’s work will focus on three areas: to predict, inform, and innovate. CFA has begun to build an outbreak analytics team with experts across several disciplines to develop faster, richer evidence to predict trends and guide decision-making during emergencies. To better inform our partners, CFA is hiring expert communicators to regularly share insights with federal, state, and local partners and the public. CFA will also continue to advance the state of the science of outbreak data, models and analytics to improve the nation’s ability to respond to health emergencies. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 25 years of experience covering engineering, maintenance, and grounds management issues in institutional and commercial facilities. 

April 28, 2022

Topic Area: Infection Control

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