The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $443 million contract consolidating and renewing software and digital capabilities Palantir provides for disease surveillance and outbreak response, the technology company announced Wednesday.
Running five years, the contract unites the Palantir-driven Health and Human Services (HHS) Protect, Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Engage, Tiberius and DCIPHER programs into what the CDC is calling its Common Operating Picture.
The CDC contracted Palantir to launch the public health infrastructure programs during the height of the pandemic, and the new Common Operating Picture approach will allow for long-term, interagency planning and operational consistency around outbreak and incident preparedness.
“There’s no way Palantir could do what we’re doing in this space without a really deep emphasis on partnership and interoperability, not only with our federal partners but with other technology systems and the other key players in the public health technology landscape,” Hirsh Jain, head of public health federal at Palantir, told FedScoop in an exclusive interview. “By definition a Common Operating Picture really requires that level of engagement with other systems and other entities.”
The Common Operating Picture allows Palantir to scale its modular technology beyond the specifics of COVID-19 for more generalized public health response to diseases like Monkeypox and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Beneficiaries include federal agencies, jurisdictional health departments and industry partners, which rely on the Common Operating Picture for disease surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response, and supply chain visibility and management.
“Every platform is being used for use cases and mission areas beyond COVID,” Jain said. “The underlying modules were configured in a way that allows for pretty immediate expansion beyond COVID and reusability across that broader space of diseases.”
The National Wastewater Surveillance System uses Palantir software for wastewater genomics, while the Predict Division within the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics is embarking on an “ambitious” effort to deploy models and analytics addressing critical needs as they arise, Jain said.
Advances in such work are more likely given the length of the Common Operating Picture contract.
“We’re really excited about the 5-year commitment here, knowing what the last five years have been like,” Jain said. “Having long-term preparedness and public health response infrastructure in place is so critical, and this gives Palantir the place to support CDC and the broader public health ecosystem in delivering that.”