Home / News / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Selects Certara to Develop Technology Platform to Strengthen the Agency’s Death Investigation and Surveillance Systems

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Selects Certara to Develop Technology Platform to Strengthen the Agency’s Death Investigation and Surveillance Systems

Certara will partner with CDC to create OpenMDI (Open Medicolegal Death Investigation), a national system that will collect and share mortality data efficiently, allowing CDC to respond rapidly to critical public health priorities, such as tracking and understanding the toxicology behind drug overdoses from opioids

PRINCETON, NJ – Mar. 5, 2019 – Certara®, the global leader in model-informed drug development, regulatory science, real-world evidence and market access services, today announced that the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has awarded it a contract to strengthen the Agency’s death investigation and surveillance systems. Certara will use its industry-leading OpenPharma™ technologies, and the CDC’s own open functionality in OpenCDC, to create OpenMDI. This new OpenMDI platform will improve the timeliness and quality of drug mortality data collected, and the interoperability of state electronic death registration systems.

This program was one of 10 focus areas identified by the CDC under its Broad Agency Announcement through which it plans to use applied research to address emerging public health priorities.

“Enabling the CDC to upgrade its historical analysis approach to one that leverages predictive analytics and ‘near real time’ data to address global health challenges is at the core of Certara’s mission,” said Certara’s CEO Dr. Edmundo Muniz. “We are privileged to be working alongside the CDC in creating a death surveillance system that aggregates disparate data in a secure and private structure facilitating decision-support analysis, visualization and reporting of toxicology and other key drug-induced death information to address the drug overdose crisis in this country.”

Over 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day (that includes prescription opioids and heroin), 1 according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). More than 70,200 Americans are estimated to have died from a drug overdose in 2017. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths. 2

“Public-private partnerships are critical to achieving our public health mission. Partners like Certara have demonstrated a clear commitment to open technologies by embracing the modern software development practices that OpenCDC and other open technologies, such as HL7’s FHIR, bring into the public domain,” noted Steven Schwartz, Director of the NCHS Division of Vital Statistics at CDC. “By building specific functional solutions that leverage these assets, we pave the path for the development of more interoperable, sustainable and cost efficient software for public health in the long-term.”

CDC is a data-centric organization and its primary tasks include managing information in the most secure, efficient, and insightful way to inform the nation and the world about public health issues. Compounding the complexity of its role, the CDC receives data from 57 US jurisdictions and literally thousands of data systems. These systems were not designed to foster ‘real time,’ automated data delivery and information exchange, which are needed today to support public health surveillance and active response by the agency.

Certara’s Open Application Programming Interface (OpenAPI) specification compliant OpenPharma technology provides a large-scale, modern, real-time services-based architecture platform from which to build sophisticated healthcare solutions. OpenPharma is built to handle ingestion and transformation of a variety of data types, real-time processing of machine-to-machine transactions, and secure, distributed collaboration (using the Hedera Hashgraph distributed ledger technology).

Under the contract, Certara will address several CDC-stated challenges, such as:

  • Developing data standards and standards-based data access mechanisms (e.g., HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources [FHIR] Application Programming Interfaces) to help medical examiners and coroner (ME/Cs) offices share critical information regarding deaths with public health significance,
  • Expanding adoption of standards-based, scalable, and software-as-a-service electronic case management systems for ME/Cs,
  • Identifying ways in which existing ME/C case management systems can be enhanced to help promote interoperability—permitting meaningful, automated, multi-directional exchange and use of data—and enable a coordinated response to multistate, high-priority threats,
  • Integrating electronic ME/C case management systems with state-based Electronic Death Registration systems and one other electronic public health system.

These advances will help to maximize the efficiency and applicability of CDC’s response to current and evolving public health threats.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db329_tables-508.pdf#4
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

Certara について

Certara enables superior drug development and patient care decision-making through model-informed drug development, regulatory science, real-world evidence solutions and knowledge integration. As a result, it optimizes R&D productivity, commercial value and patient outcomes. Its clients include hundreds of global biopharmaceutical companies, leading academic institutions, and key regulatory agencies across 60 countries. For more information, visit www.certara.com.

Certara Contact:
Ellen Leinfuss, 609-216-9586
Chief Commercial Officer

Media Contact:
Lisa Osborne, 206-992-5245
Rana Healthcare Solutions

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Jieun W. Choe, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer. jieun.choe@certara.com
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