Many state and territorial birth defects programs need guidance to increase their informatics knowledge to implement interoperable birth defects surveillance systems that lead to enhanced individual and population health.

In collaboration with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), PHII is working with public health jurisdictions to strengthen the capacity of existing birth defects surveillance programs to respond to emerging threats to mothers and babies. This increased capacity results from helping programs improve timeliness of surveillance data, leverage electronic health records (EHRs) and interoperability capabilities to enhance birth defects surveillance, and use the surveillance data to improve health outcomes of affected populations.  

Birth Defects Surveillance Resources

Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment

This assessment helps birth defects programs determine their readiness for automated electronic data exchange using health information standards. It provides an approach for program staff to assess, identify and discuss information needs with internal and external partners. Participating in this assessment will give program staff a clearer understanding of success factors and the agency’s current capabilities.

Talking Points for Promoting Interoperability with Birth Defects Surveillance

These talking points should help public health professionals communicate with your leadership and colleagues on why interoperability is important to birth defects surveillance programs.


PHII and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are producing a webinar series that includes: 

First in a four-part series
Interoperability 101 for Birth Defects Surveillance

Introduces the topic of interoperability and defines key terms with examples for birth defects programs. PHII’s Lura Daussat and CDC’s Laura Pabst highlight trends, policies and initiatives that may impact leadership buy-in and resources for these programs.

Second in a four-part series
Achieving Interoperability: Practical Lessons Learned

Provides practical experiences from jurisdictions in Michigan and Georgia as they move toward interoperability with their birth defects surveillance programs. PHII’s Lura Daussat and CDC’s Laura Pabst join two speakers who tell about the successes and challenges of modernizing their surveillance programs and the resources they used.

Third in a four-part series
An Overview of Data Modernization Efforts and Deep Dive into Electronic Case Reporting

Provides an overview of the data modernization initiative (DMI) efforts at CDC and local jurisdictions and how it aligns with BDS interoperability. Also offers guidance on how electronic case reporting (eCR) may be incorporated into BDS interoperability. PHII’s Tony Winters and CDC’s Laura Pabst join guest speakers to discuss how BDS goals align with data modernization planning.

Webinar Slides: Interoperability for Birth Defects Surveillance: A Readiness Assessment Tool

This slide deck accompanied a webinar exploring how to conduct a readiness assessment using the new tool developed by PHII with funding from the CDC. PHII’s Danielle Sill and CDC’s Laura Pabst present guidance targeted toward recipients of CDC’s birth surveillance cooperative agreement. It also provides helpful background on building interoperability capability for any birth defects surveillance program.

Note: These materials were developed in support of Cooperative Agreement number 6-NU38OT000316, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Resource contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services.

For questions about birth defects surveillance resources on this page, please contact us

PHII is a program of the Task Force for Global Health, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded as the Task Force for Child Survival in 1984. The Task Force is affiliated with Emory University.