ONC Tech Forum: Modernizing Public Health Data Exchange: Lessons Learned and Tools for the Road Ahead


This two-day virtual workshop will highlight the current state of public health data exchange across the US, as well as ONC and CDC’s joint efforts to improve public health data infrastructure. Sessions will highlight national survey findings of hospitals’ engagement in electronic public health reporting and physicians’ experiences with immunization information exchange, explore the role of HIEs and technology vendors in public health data exchange, provide an overview of how FHIR can be used to support public health use cases, share updates on CDC’s Public Health Data Strategy, and more.

New in 2023 – The ONC Tech Forum is back in 2023, although with a slightly different look. Instead of a single event, ONC will now host Tech Forum workshops throughout the year, giving you multiple opportunities to learn about how we can advance health technology to improve patient care, health equity, data exchange, and interoperability.

Presentation Slides [PDF - 20 MB]




11:00 – 11:15 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Steve Posnack (ONC)
  • Jen Layden (CDC)
11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Current State of Public Health Data Exchange – National View

  • Vaishali Patel (ONC), Moderator
  • Julia Adler-Milstein (USCF) 
  • Elizabeth Ruebrush (ASTHO)

The plenary will describe the current state of public health data exchange using national survey findings from physicians, hospitals, public health authorities and health information exchange organizations.  The provider surveys provide insight into the current levels of public health data exchange and reporting, as well as challenges and facilitators to exchange.  The national HIO survey findings highlight the role of health information exchange organizations in enabling public health data exchange. ASTHO will present a summary of key findings from the informatics portion of the ASTHO Profile of State and Territorial Public Health. Informatics topics on the survey focused on electronic data exchange, infrastructure, challenges, and strategies.  

12:15 – 1:15 pm

Deeper Insights into Public Health Exchange and the Role of Networks 

  • Vaishali Patel (ONC), moderator
  • Julia Adler-Milstein (UCSF)
  • Brian Fowler (ODH)
  • Michelle Meigs (APHL)
  • Dan Paoletti (OHIP) 

The pandemic revealed the need to address gaps in public health infrastructure designed to support the electronic exchange of public health data between public health authorities and providers.  The Strengthening the Technical Advancement & Readiness of Public Health via Health Information Exchange Program (The STAR HIE Program) provided $5 million to strengthen and expand the ability of health information exchanges (HIEs) to support public health agencies in their response to public health emergencies and pandemics.  Immunization Information System (IIS) and Health Information Exchange (HIE) COVID-19 Data Management: Immunization Data Exchange, Advancement and Sharing (IDEAS), an ONC funded project with ASTHO, helps facilitate and support COVID-19 immunization coordination between public health officials and public health informatics officers with health information exchanges (HIEs) at the state and local level.  This session will provide insights on how HIEs can potentially support public health data exchange and pandemic response through lessons learned from the implementation of the STAR HIE program and the ONC IDEAS program.   

1:15 – 1:30 pm


1:30 – 2:30 pm

Current State of Public Health Exchange: State and Local Perspectives  

  • Rachel Abbey (ONC), moderator
  • David Johnson (Hennepin County, MN)
  • Dawn Nims (Illinois Department of Health)
  • Megan Patel (Illinois Department of Health)
  • Benjamin Schram (North Dakota Department of Health) 
  • Sarah Solarz (Minnesota Department of Health)

As part of CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI), many local and state authorities are working towards updating and improving their public health data systems.  This panel of state and local authorities will describe their successes, challenges, and lessons learned in modernizing their data systems. 

2:30 – 3:30 pm

Advancing Public Health Interoperability: Vendor Perspectives  

  • Molly Murray (ONC), moderator
  • Mike Berry (HLN)
  • Jim Daniel (Amazon Web Services)
  • Theron Jeppson (EpiTrax)

Public health departments are making significant strides in transitioning to the cloud and implementing new ways for streamlining data ingestion processes. Come learn more about new approaches that technology vendors are implementing for public health, and where the industry is heading to support public health interoperability.  



11:00 am – 12:00 pm

CDC Data Strategy Update   

  • Katie Tully (ONC), moderator
  • Jim Jiris (CDC)  

The CDC has made significant strides to advance the modernization of public health department’s data systems through their Public Health Data Strategy (PHDS). The CDC PHDS is designed to describe a path to address gaps in public health data, helping the nation become response-ready, promote health equity, and improve health outcomes for all. Join our CDC colleagues to learn more about the PHDS, progress made so far, and future direction.  

12:00 – 1:00 pm

USCDI and USCDI+ Public Health Update 

  • Liz Turi (ONC) , moderator
  • Al Taylor (ONC)
  • Katie Tully (ONC) 

Since launching the USCDI+ program a year ago, ONC has been working to develop a new platform to streamline collaboration and to facilitate more rapid dataset development. Come learn more about the new platform, next steps for the USCDI+ Public Health datasets, and about the current state of USCDI. 

1:00 – 1:15 pm


1:15 – 2:15 pm

Where We Go From Here: Carrying Forward Lessons Learned from the Pandemic 

  • Rachel Abbey (ONC), moderator 
  • Sara Black (NACCHO)
  • Jim Collins (Michigan Department of Health)
  • JT Lane (ASTHO)
  • Michael Radwin (CDC)

The COVID-19 pandemic presented public health data systems with significant challenges, but the pandemic also provided ample opportunities. As we slowly transition back to some type of normalcy, it is important to continue to invest in our public health data infrastructure to address gaps and take those lessons learned forward.  This session will share how state, tribal, local and territorial governments are working to ensure public health data systems are able to tackle the day-to-day activities in a more efficient manner and prepare us for future pandemics.