Innovation is the thread connecting all the public health initiatives that ARP funding will enable. Many states have been forced to innovate in response to the pandemic (necessity being the mother of invention), and great things have come about. We now need to carry that same innovative urgency and energy throughout 2021 and beyond.
Data integration is the differentiator for the future of public health. Interoperability is like the skeleton that connects systems and makes them hang together. And data integration is like the circulatory system that shuttles crucial nutrients among them.
Once systems are able to talk to each other, it’s vital that the data they share is of high quality. AI, machine learning, sophisticated algorithms and analytic maturity are key.
Optum excels at advanced analytic maturity. We have the scale of data, the tools and technology, the algorithms, and people skilled in actuary science and analytics.
Many public health departments have impressive epidemiological data expertise. Yet they could benefit from the analytics, AI, machine learning and predictive modeling tools that Optum has to offer.
Optum recently helped another state rework its overburdened system to accommodate for current and future COVID-19 testing growth. The new, fully automated system was able to:
- Provide highly reliable data
- Create a repeatable process that enables better reporting and tracking
- Address inequities exposed by the pandemic
- Unify state and local jurisdictions in their response
- Increase public trust
As public health officials, we understand prevention, health care and the impact of disparities. But those of us who have been in that role know we're not necessarily equipped to go it alone in laying the pipes for data infrastructure, AI or data integration. A partner like Optum has that expertise to help anticipate and prepare for the future of data modernization.
The ARP is an opportunity on a scale we’ve rarely seen before. It can help us make a bigger investment, tackle long-entrenched problems and build the public health infrastructure of tomorrow.
The level and allocation of investment will be different for each state, based on their current situation. Partnering with Optum can give states a big-picture view of where they are and where they need to go.
From strategic visioning to advisory services to advanced tools and technology, Optum offers everything states need to take full advantage of the transformative potential of the ARP.
About the author
Population Health Practice Lead, Optum Advisory Services
With more than 25 years in health care, Mylynn Tufte is the former state health officer for North Dakota. In that role, she led the state’s Department of Health during the COVID-19 public health emergency. She also established health policy and developed and implemented strategic priorities.
Tufte uses technology to improve health equity, social determinants of health and care for vulnerable populations. She has helped organizations develop and implement innovative solutions that improve health care for diverse populations.
She earned a BSN from Case Western Reserve University, and an MBA and MSIM from Arizona State University.