III. Desired Outcomes of the Meeting
Dr. Fielding noted that during the remainder of the meeting, the Committee would finalize its recommendations to HHS for immediate actions to be taken over next year; seek agreement on systems specification for the online Healthy People 2020 relational database; and finalize the charges of Phase II subcommittees. He said it would be important to get additional guidance on what HHS needs when seeking “recommendations for implementation.” He said that recommendations for implementation might not be complete by June, but perhaps the Committee could finish the first phase of this work by then.
IV. Immediate Committee Recommendations to HHS for Action Over the Next 12 Months
Dr. Fielding thanked Subcommittee Chair Lisa Iezzoni for drafting a memo of recommendations with the input of other Advisory Committee members, and then opened the floor for comments. A Committee member emphasized that the recommendations were especially important in light of upcoming decisions about how HHS would respond to the stimulus package. Another member asked how the Committee would be able to track HHS’ response to the memo. RADM Slade-Sawyer said the document would be submitted through the usual channels, and a response will come back through the system. A minor edit was proposed for item 3 of the memo, under the last bullet point, to remove the “e.g.” before the NIH. This would keep the recommendations broad. A motion was made to approve the recommendations, and the motion was seconded.
- All members who were present voted to approve the memo, “Recommendations for Immediate Actions in Support of the Health Objectives to Improve the Health of the American People.”
V. Online Relational Database: Systems Specifications and User Interface
Dr. Ronald Manderscheid, Chair of the Subcommittee on System Specifications, explained the background for a report that his subcommittee had prepared. The report describes specifications for an information technology project that would allow the creation of an online version of Healthy People. Such a tool would allow users to submit queries for specific data. While it does not include a true user interface, it does describe the process by which one could develop a user-friendly user interface.
The Subcommittee had discussed the need to make this tool relevant to users with different knowledge levels, and to create an underlying relational database would allow linkages among variables. In general, the approach of the Subcommittee was to give structure to the project and at the same time focus on the user throughout this work. Dr. Manderscheid noted that this last point would be relevant to the work of the Subcommittee on implementation, because users should be engaged in the various stages of designing the Healthy People 2020 system. Dr. Manderscheid stated that the Subcommittee on System Specifications had completed this piece of work, and recommended that it be approved by the Committee.
Dr. Fielding thanked the Subcommittee for their excellent work, and invited comments and discussion from the Committee. One member commented that she would like to see the addition of a third example of a potential system query that would address health determinants and interventions to address them. She added that some of the primary audiences that are described in the report have their hands on the reins of funding. She felt that the report should reflect the notion that funders need consider how to advance Healthy People by funding the kinds of programs that Healthy People supports. Third, she commented that the platform for the database has to be flexible so that it does not become outdated. Dr. Manderscheid agreed with these suggestions, and offered to work with the member to address them.