HHS is involved through a variety of agencies with data collection efforts to count and capture characteristics and process features for certain types of providers/facilities and for various federal programs. In addition to national NCHS surveys, these include diverse and sometimes overlapping or inconsistent data collected by HRSA, SMHSA and other agencies. Given the needs expressed in our interviews, it is not clear that the current HHS structure data collection is the most effective way to focus resources on information needs about the health care system which focus on needs to understand linkages among components as well as the components themselves.
- Suggestion #3a. The Data Council should review the status of federal data collection efforts related to capture of health resources and provider information in light of the information in this report. The committee should identify characteristics of the existing system that should be considered fixed, changes that should be assumed to proceed, and the relevant range of activity that should be considered for review.
- Suggestion #3b. Consistent with the guidance in Suggestion 2, HHS should commission a technical analysis of strategic options for available resources and solicit input on these options from a variety of public and private constituencies to inform its own decision-making process.