Information Needs Associated with the Changing Organization and Delivery of Health Care: Summary of Perceptions, Activities, Key Gaps, and Priorities. B. Structural Data Gaps: Suggestions for Action


There is a need for much more information that could be used to describe the health system both in terms of function and in how the relationships of its components are evolving in an era of consolidation, integration, and managed care. The needs in this area correspond to the resource and structural issues we discussed, and to the related concerns about the ability to describe what these changes in functional relationships mean for the process of health care delivery. The perceived need for this kind of information seems relatively recent, and there is both little historical work on which to build and major barriers to progress. For example, some information needs are so “simple” as an inability to even decide which entities should be defined for data capture when both these entities and their linkages are unstable, shifting, and so little documented in the marketplace.

This set of needs is probably the most complicated that HHS will address because work in this area is relatively undeveloped. We suggest that HHS may find it useful to the many focus on four gaps that weaken stakeholders’ ability to understand how the health care system is structured today and how care delivery works.

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