Healthy People 2000 Results in Better Health Data Collection

On February 18, 1997, the Department of Health and Human Services held a review of progress on designated objectives for surveillance and data systems. This briefing commenced the third round in the on-going series of reviews covering the 22 priority areas of Healthy People 2000.

New health surveys and data systems have resulted from the Healthy People 2000 project, a national campaign to systematically promote healthful habits and good preventive care. By charting progress toward reaching health objectives, prevention efforts are targeted to develop programs that are more effective and have a strong impact.

"As the nation's report card on the health of the public, Healthy People 2000 has propelled the development of new surveys and data systems, as well as the collection of new information about health risks," said Dr. Claude Earl Fox, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

"Substantial improvements have also been made in the sharing of health-related data among levels of government and across public and private agencies," Fox continued. "However, much remains to be done to capture community-level data on small population groups, such as people in poverty and people with disabilities, and to share these data among levels of government in a timely manner to affect policy and program decisions."

When the first national health promotion and disease prevention objectives were published in 1979, 35 percent of the 226 objectives had no baseline data. That figure was reduced to 25 percent by the end of the decade.

Dr. Edward Sondik, statistical advisor, said, "I congratulate the States for making real progress in the timely release of vital statistics data--within six months of the birth and death events."

National data for 1995 were released in 1996--earlier than ever before--in part because of the use of electronic record transfer from hospitals to city and county health departments to States and to the Federal government. The electronic record has accelerated the flow of data from hospitals through States to the National Center for Health Statistics. Timeliness in the release of national survey data makes the tracking systems more up to date.

For additional information, contact Diane Wagener or Richard Klein, National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/DHHS at (301) 436-3548.