Core Health Data Elements: Report of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Interact closely with recognized standards-setting groups


The importance of participating in meetings of the various standard-setting groups has been recognized by the Committee. Members of the Committee and DHHS staff participate when possible, however, the increasing numbers of groups and meetings is problematic from a staff and budget point of view. To identify the large number of organizations involved in various aspects of health data standards, staff at NCHS produced a report (see appendix H) describing the various groups by type of organization. The report provides important background information on coordinators and promoters of standards development; lead standards-development organizations; organizations developing performance measures indicators; departmental organizations; international organizations; and others.

To obtain the latest plans, at its October 1995 meeting, the NCVHS held a session focused on Standards Development Organizations and related organizations. Participating organizations included:

  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
  • ANSI HISPP (Health Informatics Standards Planning Panel),
  • ANSI ASC X-12 (Accredited Standards Committee),
  • HL-7 (Health Level 7)
  • WEDI (WorkGroup on Electronic Data Interchange)
  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials ),
  • NUBC (National Uniform Billing Committee),
  • NUCC (National Uniform Claim Committee), and
  • NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance).

Although Committee members were aware in a general way of ongoing standards developments activities, this session focused on the need for action being required now and in the near future if the health care community is to obtain and maintain a presence as data standards are developed and finalized. At the very minimum, there need to be "place holders" provided to standards organizations to inform them that certain data elements are critical elements, even when the specific format of the items is currently undecided. It became obvious that staff dedicated to participating in and monitoring the activities of these organizations is crucial if all relevant voices (including public health and epidemiology) are to be heard. At the March 1996 NCVHS meeting, many of the same standards-setting groups were present and indicated their support of the Committee's efforts.