The U.S. public health infrastructure will require investments of nearly $37 billion over the next decade to ensure readiness for public health emergencies, according to a recent report released by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Citing the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s public health infrastructure, which is often siloed and fragmented across states and localities, HIMSS highlights the need to rebuild a resilient system that can handle emerging health threats. 

The nonprofit healthcare advisory organization recommends a sizable investment to modernize and digitize the public health data infrastructure for states, territories, local,and tribal health agencies (STLT) over the next decade.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated we can’t wait any longer,” said Tom Leary, SVP and head of government relations at HIMSS, in a statement. “The $1 billion in funding that has been invested by Congress since March 2020 has many benefits. To truly ensure public health is an equal partner with the U.S. clinical environment, we need a responsible approach to investment in STLT public health infrastructure. Our report outlines the areas of investment that will bolster public health throughout the U.S. It will have immediate and long-term benefits for all STLT communities.”

The strategy emphasizes critical public health functions and modernization policies, including electronic case reporting and contact tracing, syndromic disease surveillance, establishing a nimble rapid cycle learning health system and boosting immunization registry reporting and query, among others.

HIMSS also called for greater interoperability across the spectrum of care and innovation that supports “meaningful use, preparedness and health equity.”