Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

From Clinfowiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a part of the United States Department of Health & Human Services. It was originally founded in 1946 to combat malaria, but the CDC exists today as a group of federally funded centers, offices, and institutes with a broader mission. [1] The CDC partners with governmental and non-governmental organizations within the United States, and other governments and organizations around the globe to promote systematic research into health issues and to provide leadership around the application of this knowledge to population-based public health.


The CDC focuses on "five strategic areas: supporting state and local health departments, improving global health, implementing measures to decrease leading causes of death, strengthening surveillance and epidemiology, and reforming health policies." [1]

Standardized data collection and secondary use of clinical data create a foundation for the CDC’s research, surveillance, epidemiology, prevention, and health policy activities.

Public Health Information Network (PHIN)

The CDC promotes the development and use of standards-based information systems that are compatible with one another and with clinical care information systems. Through the Public Health Information Network, the CDC and its public and private partners have been advancing software components, data, and technical specifications to create interoperability between systems[1]. Numerous activities and resources feed into these efforts[2] to establish and disseminate data interchange standards[3], vocabulary standards[4], and messaging standards[5] for public health reporting of immunizations, healthcare associated infection, early hearing detection and intervention, cancer surveillance, disease notification, syndromic surveillance, etc.

Specific PHIN Tools and Data Systems

Many surveillance and tracking tools have been developed by the CDC directly or in cooperation with other organizations. These include the following electronic systems.

  • Emergency Surveillance and Response Systems: The CDC has developed a vast infrastructure of databases, networks, and alerting systems for emergency surveillance and response, often in partnership with other public health entities. These systems include the Countermeasures Tracking Systems[6], multiple electronic communication portals, and electronic laboratory reporting systems. In a local, regional, national, or international emergency, these systems provide the infrastructure for private and public health entities (from individual clinicians to hospitals and health authorities) to coordinate an effective response[7]. Early detection, effective investigation and assessment of events, and isolation of threats depend on data systems that support information exchange.
  • Epidemic Information Exchange (Epi-X): This web-based communication tool is restricted to use by public health officials. It is a tool for the exchange of information during events (e.g., foodborne illness, extreme weather events, terrorist incidents) and for analysis of information following events[8].
  • National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)\NEDSS Base System: This health information exchange system “helps connect the healthcare system to public health departments and those health departments to CDC” and is part of the larger overarching National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System[9]. It supports the use of LOINC, SNOMED, and HL7 messaging standards.
  • WONDER Databases[10]: These are a group of interactive websites that provide data on births, deaths, AIDS, tuberculosis, morbidity, cancer, vaccine adverse events, sexually transmitted disease, and environmental information. The CDC collects data from local jurisdictions and then compiles them for secondary use by scientists, researchers, and the general public.

National Health Care Surveys

The CDC conducts a group of national surveys[11] with various types of health care providers to assess health care provided in the U.S. Health care quality, utilization, and safety are assessed, along with regional and demographic differences in health care received. In addition, data about the different types of medical settings and available technology in each setting are collected[12].

A representative sample of providers from hospitals, emergency and outpatient departments, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, office-based physicians, home health agencies, government-funded community health centers, and hospice facilities are selected for participation.

Standardized classification systems are used in these surveys: ICD-9-CM; ICD-10-CM; National Drug Code Directory (prior to 2006); Multum (starting in 2006); and other classification schemes for diagnosis, cause of injury, procedures, and therapeutic class of drug. [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 CDC - Our History - Our Story
  2. CDC - Ambulatory Health Care Data - Questionnaires, Datasets, and Related Documentation