Looking back at the characterization of health statistics on the early pages of this report, we see that the lack of comprehensive planning has resulted in gaps, duplication, and high cost. More analysis is needed to tease apart where additional resources are needed and where they simply need to be used more efficiently in the ways outlined below.
Currently, the burden of data collection and reporting undermines both data quality and data providers’ willingness to expand collection to include the many other elements on which information is needed. Burden is a concern not only for health care providers and their organizations, but also for local public health officials, especially those with inadequate technology and other resources. A related issue of concern to planners is the shortage of adequately trained personnel to analyze and interpret the data collected.
Underlying all of these concerns is the need for sustained support from knowledgeable policy-makers who understand the importance of health statistics. This, in turn, highlights the need to provide Americans and their leaders with useful information on the public’s health status, health determinants, and health care.