Federal Data Serves as a ‘Public Utility’ for States
In North Carolina, the Digital Health Institute for Transformation, a nonprofit education and research organization based in Chapel Hill, N.C., and its local partners are using funds from the federal COVID-19 relief effort to build a predictive model to guide businesses, community organizations and others in making reopening decisions.
The decision support tool is powered by a variety of national and regional information, including health, labor, economic and occupational data.
DHIT president Michael Levy says the federal government has a role to play in helping state and local governments use predictive analytics to create similar programs and improve public health and the economy, just as it created greater mobility and boosted commerce by building highways across the U.S.
“What we’re seeing is a new public utility emerging that’s no different than water and energy,” he says.
Full collaboration on predictive analytics between the federal government and the rest of the U.S. may still be a work in progress.
“We’re still at the very beginning of the maturity curve,” Levy says, “but you have to start building the infrastructure one brick at a time.”
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