Epidemiological data challenges: Planning for a more robust future through data standards

This week we turn back the clock a couple of years to 2018, when Fairchild et al.published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health their analysis of the challenges of epidemiological data reporting. With the march of COVID-19 today, their analysis and advice holds even more relevant today. In their paper, Fairchild et al. first introduced the state of epidemiological data reporting, particularly on the internet. They then discussed the three challenges that affect such reporting: user interface, data format, and data reporting issues. They concluded with nine clear best practices that should be followed when managing epidemiological data for release to the public. They imagined a scenario of a standardized platform adopted worldwide, “where global data could be easily collected without the challenges we currently face. This would in turn streamline epidemiological and public health analysis, modeling, and informatics, resulting in better public health decision-making capabilities.”

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