US Senators call for modernisation of COVID-19 data collection

US Senators Tom Carper and Bill Cassidy led a bipartisan group of senators to call on the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to modernise COVID-19 data collection and management. The group of senators issued a letter to the HHS Secretary Azar and the CDC Director Dr Redfield to demand that the agencies harness advanced technology and build on existing data sources in order to provide public health officials with more accurate, real time information. The senators noted that case reporting and contact tracing in the USA are inefficient due to a fragmented health system and outdated technology, including manual entry of patient data and result sharing via fax. They stated that modernising and automating data collection should enhance detection, testing, and contact tracing strategies. In the letter, Florida and North Carolina are named as good examples. For instance, in Florida, nurses can register patients for COVID-19 testing in the field by using tablet devices that are connected to a cloud that is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The process has reduced lab processing time and eliminated transcription errors.