The major output of this project to date has been the recommendation of core data elements, definitions, vocabulary and classifications. This effort, described below, is the culmination of input from the historical knowledge and work of the Committee, including the uniform basic data sets already developed; and information provided in meetings, hearings, and through correspondence with Federal, state and local health agencies, private organizations, universities, etc.
The goal has been to develop a set of data elements with agreed-upon standardized definitions that, when needed in a data collection effort, can be used to collect and produce standardized data. The Committee's intent is not to specify a data set for mandated external reporting; not every element may be needed in a specific collection effort, and these data elements do not represent all of the important data items that are collected in the field or needed for specific applications. They do represent those items that are routinely collected in many efforts, such as basic person information, as well as items specific to inpatient or ambulatory care settings, such as provider information, diagnoses, and services.
It is hoped that, as data collection evolves, certain data items, such as personal data, (i.e., date of birth, race, occupation) will only need to be collected at time of entry into a health care plan or to be updated on an annual basis, to reduce the burden of data collection. Other data items are related to a specific episode of care and will be provided at each encounter.