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RADM Slade-Sawyer announced that the Healthy People Consortium has grown to about 1,150 members. The profile of members has remained fairly consistent, and includes health departments, academic institutions, professional organizations, corporate organizations, community-based organizations, and nonprofit organizations. The FIW has developed a survey for Consortium members that will be fielded soon. Findings will be used to engage Consortium members through communication and outreach activities.

II.  Desired Outcomes of the Meeting

Dr. Fielding said a great deal of discussion had taken place since the Committee's previous meeting in July. The Data & IT and Priorities subcommittees each met twice, and the Subcommittee on Data & IT finalized a draft report. The Subcommittee on Implementation and the Evidence Ad Hoc group both used the Committee's feedback from the July 10, 2009, meeting to revise their reports. (New versions were included in the briefing materials for this meeting.) A draft document on social determinants of health had been prepared and circulated to experts for comment. Providing an overview of issues to be addressed during the meeting, he said that the Committee would review recommendations of the Subcommittee on Data & IT, vote on the draft report on selecting evidence-based actions, and the short and long-term recommendations of the Subcommittee on Implementation. They would also discuss the recent work of the Subcommittee on Priorities. Finally, the Committee would lay groundwork for its upcoming September meeting in Washington, D.C.

III.  Data and IT Subcommittee Recommendations

Dr. Ron Manderscheid, Chair of the Subcommittee on Data & IT, presented his group's draft recommendations. He explained that they had examined HHS data systems in three areas: epidemiology, services, and cost. They looked at how well those systems would be able to meet the data needs of Healthy People 2020 and also discussed systems outside of HHS (particularly those relevant to defining social and physical determinants of health). Recommendations were divided into immediate and long-term needs for HHS and non-HHS data sources, as well as health information technology (health IT). They highlight areas where work is needed, as well as current HHS efforts that are already working very well. The Subcommittee believes these recommendations can help to better position HHS in the national Health Reform process, to use developments in health IT, and to develop a stronger data infrastructure for Healthy People 2020.

The first set of recommendations pertains to HHS Data Systems. The most immediate and fundamental of these is that HHS should continue to perform existing major epidemiological and health services surveys and vital statistics operations as planned, restore full sample sizes where needed, and avoid further reductions in sample sizes/scope of coverage. If this step is not accomplished, it could greatly diminish the efficacy of the rest of the recommendations in the subcommittee's report. Other recommendations called upon HHS to do more with the data it currently has. For example, there are inadequate data for some special populations (e.g., American Indians) and additional analyses needed for data that are collected. Some surveys are not conducted often enough (e.g., the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery; the National Survey of Assisted Living Facilities; and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey). Some key recommendations included:

  • Make better use of encounter data and administrative data;
  • Create a core set of key health outcome measures for HHS;
  • Create a core set of indicators for health determinants;
  • Produce a standardized database that enables the use of outcome measures at the federal, state, and local levels;
  • Document data in a standard manner;
  • Have the HHS Data Council coordinate planning for HHS data systems, look at issues of survey periodicity, eliminate duplication, and seek methodological innovations;
  • Expand the collection of functional status information beyond public health surveillance so it becomes part of routine healthcare delivery and administrative data; and
  • Strengthen the information infrastructure to facilitate creation of an online Healthy People Community.

Dr. Manderscheid elaborated on the list of recommendations (available in the Subcommittee's written report) before opening the floor for Committee discussion and feedback. Dr. Fielding commented that these recommendations were very comprehensive, reflected an extraordinary amount of work, and were ready for a vote of approval. He encouraged the members to provide feedback.