This report summarizes the insights and conclusions drawn during a seven month project to assess unmet needs for supply-side information on the health system. Highlights and key findings of the study are summarized on the next page. The project focused on helping the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identify how information needs associated with a changing health care system are perceived by a wide variety of user groups and constituencies, including those representing providers, insurers, purchasers, consumers, and government at various levels. The impetus for the project stems from a wide-spread perception that the health care marketplace is changing rapidly in ways that will require information about changes in the components of the health system and their interrelationships, as well as on the effect of these changes on institutions and public policy objectives. The project is intended to help HHS’ Data Council to identify implications for HHS activity, as well as where HHS may have a role in helping to address these issues or support others in addressing them.
The study included two stages of data collection. The first was a broad-based review of perceived gaps, their causes, and the activities generated in response to these perceptions, as identified through interviews with over 50 individuals and a review of relevant literature and Web sites. The second involved obtaining more comprehensive information on a diverse group of 11 entities identified in the first stage as involved in broad-based efforts of interest nationally including the resources and structure of the system, the care process, and the outcomes of that process.