Core Health Data Elements: Report of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Related data set activities


Concurrent with these activities being undertaken by the full Committee, there are two related projects undertaken by the Subcommittee on Mental Health Statistics and the Subcommittee on Disability and Long Term Care Statistics. With the assistance of the Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA, and a contractor, Webman Associates, a study was undertaken to identify and survey a representative sample of mental health, managed care, substance abuse, disabilities and long term care experts who would be willing to offer recommendations about the content of an ideal minimal data set for a health care record that is inclusive of the relevant information. Over three dozen data sets were studied, among them two nationally approved data sets, the Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program Data Set MHSIP) and The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data set. After review of the data elements collected, the subcommittees decided to study in-depth six data clusters:

  1. Disability
  2. Mental Health and Substance Use History of Consumer and of Consumer's Family Members
  3. Guardianship/Caregiver
  4. Living Situation
  5. Categorization and Coding of Wrap Around Services (including community-based services, housing assistance, job training, etc.)
  6. Functional Assessment Criteria

The preliminary results of this project have been prepared. The process for these specialized areas is ongoing and final recommendations for specific elements have not yet been submitted to the full Committee. Respondents to this project welcomed the notion of a core data set and standardized forms in this area. It is important to note for this report, however, that the two subcommittees are in agreement with the core data elements that are described herein. Their continuing study is involved with more detailed data elements that relate specifically to the areas of mental heath, substance abuse, and long term care.

A second study is currently underway, one which will investigate core data elements in common use in data sets on persons with disability and/or persons receiving long term care. The major objectives of this project include the production of a report assessing existing data for care provided to persons with disabilities in institutional and community long term care settings, as well as in rehabilitation. Common data elements and areas for standardization will be considered as well as criteria for selection of data elements. Recommendations and linkage with the current project will be discussed.