Core Health Data Elements: Report of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Conclusions


As a result of the process followed in the conduct of this project and based on careful analysis by its members, the Committee has reached the following conclusions:

  • The response to the Committee's activities both through participation in meetings and written comments indicates that the health care information field is solidly in favor of the identification and use of standardized data elements and definitions.
  • The number of standards-setting organizations is growing; however, all who addressed the Committee are actively seeking participation by a 'recognized' leader/group who can forge consensus for the health care information field. But time is short; decisions are being made by organizations now.
  • Response was significant and positive to the Committee's request to review a set of core data elements that were identified after a series of hearings and other information- gathering efforts were completed. Most organizations were supportive in wanting to 'get on board' with standardized data elements.
  • There is already consensus among data collectors and users for a significant number of data elements, especially elements related to person descriptors and to selected information on inpatient and ambulatory encounters.
  • There is less agreement on data definitions, even for data items that have been in the field for years. Definitions must be refined and made available in standardized formats to data collectors.
  • There are data items, such as health status and functional status, that are considered crucial elements, but for which substantial additional study and evaluation must be undertaken to reach consensus on standardized content and definition.
  • Because they recognize the significance of this project, respondents also recommended a number of additional items that they would like evaluated and possibly included in a core set of standardized data elements.