HHS Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public. A. Summary of HHS Agency Guidelines


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed these guidelines to implement Office of Management and Budget (OMB) January 2002 requirement that all federal agencies issue guidelines for ensuring the quality of the information that they disseminate to the public. The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves. The Department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities.

In the course of carrying out program missions, agencies and staff offices within HHS disseminate a wide variety of information to the public, ranging from research and statistical reports to authoritative health and medical information. Many of these information dissemination activities and products rank among the highest quality scientific, statistical and programmatic information among federal agencies, and in many cases set the national and international standard for quality.

HHS is committed to disseminating information that meets the standards of quality set forth in OMB and in the guidelines discussed in this document. It is HHS's goal to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information that it disseminates to the public. We strive to provide information that is accurate, reliable, clear, complete, unbiased, and useful. We are committed to integrating the principle of information quality into every phase of information development, including creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination. The guidelines that follow describe the quality assurance policies and practices that support information dissemination activities in HHS.

Following an overview of the OMB Guidelines and HHS guidelines, the quality assurance policies of each of the major operating agencies and staff offices of HHS are described. Each set of agency guidelines includes a description of a) the mission of the agency, b) the scope and applicability of the guidelines within the agency, c) the types of information that the agency disseminates, d) the dissemination methods employed by the agency, e) the policies, standards and practices that the agency employs to ensure the quality of the information it disseminates, and f) an administrative mechanism and contact points for each agency so that individuals may seek correction of any information that is believed not to meet the OMB, HHS, or agency-specific guidelines along with an administrative appeals process.