Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are six opportunities for health IT infrastructure to improve in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and adequately address this public health crisis. 

• What is the U.S. national response to COVID-19 lacking right now in terms of data? How can donor capital help strengthen IT infrastructure?

• Read about what health philanthropy can do to address the impact of COVID-19. 

On March 29, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to hospital administrators (PDF) requesting hospitals to email the number and results of COVID-19 tests performed each day to the federal government. Without the national IT infrastructure to automatically track tests performed in hospital laboratories, self-reporting by hospitals was the best solution, even though it will likely result in slowed and incomplete data.

Test tracking is just one example of how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed an opportunity to improve the United States’ health IT infrastructure to address a public health crisis. We identified six additional opportunities for improvement from the health IT literature:

  1. Information exchange with public health registries
  2. Data exchange within the health care system
  3. Ease of use by clinicians
  4. Telehealth
  5. Clinical decision support
  6. Data analytics and population management tools

Improvements in these health IT capabilities, whether initiated by the government or private sector, will make our nation’s health IT infrastructure more effective both for regular care and public health crisis response. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light some limitations in our nation’s capacity to share and use health information, and improving our ability to use real-time data to address a public health crisis is critical.

Read the full article about improving health IT infrastructure by Christal Ramos, Fredric Blavin, Emily M. Johnston, Luis E. Basurto and Gary Ozanich at Urban Institute.