The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working “to build a revolutionary new data system” for COVID-19 hospital data collection that the CDC will run upon completion, according to Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Birx’s comments this week come a month after the Trump administration mandated that hospitals sidestep the agency and send critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment to a different federal database managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC.
The July decision was met with an avalanche of criticism from medical institutions and public health groups. Weeks after the new reporting system was rolled out, the data were shown to be rife with inconsistencies and updated erratically.
The announcement sparked hope among some public health advocates that the current, controversial system of reporting hospital data around COVID-19 would soon be canceled and that data collection would be restored to the CDC.
Birx made the remarks Monday during a visit to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, but she did not provide a time frame for the change.
Having the CDC run data collection again “would help us tremendously in getting back on track with respect to reporting and understanding what’s happening with this pandemic across the region, the state and the nation,” said Dr. Vineet Chopra, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of Michigan and a member of a federal advisory committee on hospital infection prevention.
Last month, the White House told hospitals to stop reporting critical data into a CDC system they had used since the beginning of the pandemic, which was analyzing the data and posting thrice-weekly updates on a CDC website. Instead, hospitals have had to start reporting information on how many…