Specifically, the Department charged the Committee to:
- Review state-of-the-art of widely used core data sets in the United States and other countries (including coding and formatting features that allow for flexibility);
- Obtain input, through hearings and other means, from the diverse parties who will report and use standardized data sets;
- Interact closely with recognized standards-setting groups; and
- Promote consensus by identifying areas of agreement on data elements and data sets among different stakeholders and areas that will require further research and development before consensus can be reached.
In developing a strategy for accomplishing these tasks, the Committee described a context in which the project would be undertaken that included the following issues:
- Why such data sets are needed in the current and evolving health care arena;
- What multiple functions they might accomplish for a variety of different users;
- What data elements (including definitions, vocabularies and coding structures) they might contain; and
- What potential problems, such as assuring data quality and preserving confidentiality of identifiable records, can be expected and what approaches might be used to address these problems.
In accepting these challenges, the Committee seeks to facilitate consensus development and incorporate the concepts of multiple use, continued change, and long-term evolution of core data elements into general thinking and practice. The goal is to see what commonalities already exist and to what extent there can be further movement toward greater commonality of terms and consistency of definition.