CDC to embrace cloud computing with $189 million modernization project
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is getting a major facelift as the agency launches a large-scale cloud computing modernization project. After awarding a $189 million contract to Accenture in October of 2022, the CDC is now bringing on Leidos as a subcontractor to help migrate its systems to a more modern, agile, and scalable infrastructure design.
Together, the partners will revamp the CDC’s aging internal systems, which have been tested to the limit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effort is part of the CDC’s ongoing Data Modernization Initiative (DMI), which aims to dramatically improve the flow of public health information across the nation to address health disparities, ensure transparency, and equip providers and researchers with more complete, accurate, and timely data on infectious diseases and other public health concerns.
“Cloud computing capabilities can improve transparency and traceability of cost and reduce the capital required to modernize infrastructure,” the CDC says. “At the same time, cloud promises rapid scaling to meet public health emergency response needs and fosters efficient access to new and emerging data science tools.”
“This is the foundation upon which the CDC will modernize its IT infrastructure, current systems, and tools; develop advanced analytic capabilities; and ensure more effective cybersecurity.”
The CDC is developing a platform-based strategy to make it easier for teams within the agency to create tailored dashboards and reports, move data where it needs to go, and adhere to strong data governance principles that support trustworthy research and actions.
Building these capabilities in the cloud will make it easier for healthcare providers and researchers around the country – and around the world – to engage with the CDC and take a proactive stance against emerging threats.
“We are excited for the opportunity to help modernize public health systems and improve access to data that is essential to CDC’s work,” said Jill Olmstead, Accenture Federal Services’ managing director and health consulting lead. “We look forward to introducing innovative ways to achieve CDC’s cloud adoption goals through our public health experience, Cloud First capabilities, and innovation investments, to help advance their mission to protect people from health, safety, and security threats.”
As a subcontractor on the project, Leidos will work closely with Accenture to achieve four main goals: application rationalization, project initiation and planning, cloud modernization, and application sustainment and modernization, the company said.
“Through our experience and technical expertise migrating legacy systems, Leidos will accelerate the CDC’s performance and execution,” said Liz Porter, Leidos Health Group president. “We’re proud to support this mission and the CDC’s work protecting the health of the American people.”
As the CDC continues its data modernization efforts, healthcare providers should find it easier to report public health data and receive high-value information back from the CDC about immediate and longer-term concerns. Data interoperability and the adoption of shared standards is also a top priority for agency officials, who have integrated successfully technologies such as HL7 FHIR, as well as emerging tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning, into their platforms.
Taken all together, these efforts will help the CDC better manage public health and provide a valuable, large-scale proof point for the role of cloud computing in the healthcare data environment.
Jennifer Bresnick is a journalist and freelance content creator with a decade of experience in the health IT industry. Her work has focused on leveraging innovative technology tools to create value, improve health equity, and achieve the promises of the learning health system. She can be reached at email@example.com.