Tribal Epidemiology Centers: HHS Actions Needed to Enhance Data Access
Authors: United States Government Accountability Office
Publication Year: 2022
Last Updated: March 2022
Keywords: Covid-19; Data Collection; IHS
Short Abstract: Among the 12 tribal epidemiology centers (TEC), which are public health entities serving American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities across the U.S., access to epidemiological data varied.
Abstract: Among the 12 tribal epidemiology centers (TEC), which are public health entities serving American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities across the U.S., access to epidemiological data varied. Federal law authorizes TECs' access to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including data from HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indian Health Service (IHS), for a variety of public health purposes. However, according to TEC officials, access to non-public HHS data, such as CDC data on positive COVID-19 tests or IHS data on patient diagnosis codes, varied among TECs. TEC officials also described challenges accessing some CDC and IHS data, such as the inability to access certain CDC data on infectious diseases and other conditions. TECs used available epidemiological data to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and to conduct other analyses that support public health decision-making in AI/AN communities. However, TEC officials told GAO that their access to data influences the analyses they are able to conduct, and that a lack of access can limit their ability to provide AI/AN communities with meaningful information needed for decision-making.
Source: Link to Original Article.
Type of Resource: Best Practices Newsletter