Shaping a Vision for 21st Century Health Statistics. Unitary data collection for multiple purposes


The principle of collecting data once and then using the data for many purposes is the key to solving many of the current problems with statistics¾burden, resource constraints, fragmentation, and so on. The multiple purposes for which unitary data collection could be used include clinical care, health services research, administration, public health programs, public health surveillance, and population health monitoring. Strong legal protections to safeguard confidentiality and privacy, carefully structured data sharing agreements, and appropriate protocols for implementing the legal protections and data sharing agreements will all be necessary if we are to achieve unitary data collection for multiple purposes. Equally essential will be the right conceptual framework and organizational mechanisms.