|DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES||Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control
|November 3, 1997
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) have established a process for the development and approval of proposed standard data elements for use in health information and surveillance systems that are under their aegis. The CDC/ATSDR Health Information and Surveillance Systems Board (HISSB) has been given responsibility for this process and is asking for your help.
We believe that the identification, development, if necessary, and implementation of standards for data needed by our nation's health system, including its health care and public health information systems, constitute a critical priority. The importance of such standards has been recognized by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and is addressed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). CDC and ATSDR are supporting and participating in the development of data standards, especially those that concern data of public health importance. We hope that this process will yield useful standards that will widely influence public health data systems at all jurisdictional levels.
Because standards based on X12 and HL-7 are likely to be adopted for HIPAA, we have carefully considered these standards as we have developed the enclosed, proposed standards. Finally, in anticipation of the adoption of the national HIPAA standards for administrative health data that will be collected electronically, CDC and ATSDR are working to ensure that the HIPAA standards for these data meet our public health needs.
Attached are standards for four variables: a general "date" variable which is consistent with Year 2000 compliance guidelines, sex, age, and country-identification. Note that each proposed standard is actually several standards, specifying methods for data collection storage, electronic data interchange and transmission, and dissemination. These proposals have been carefully reviewed internally at CDC and ATSDR and are now being distributed widely for external comment. Every few months or so, as additional standards are identified and developed internally, they will be sent to you and others for review and comment.
Please consider these proposed standards from several perspectives, such as the extent they will support your public health work and facilitate your use of public health data, and the degree to which they agree or conflict with data standards that are being proposed and being developed in your public health jurisdiction or organization. We ask that you share these proposed standards with concerned colleagues and comment on them by December 30th (November 30th for the "date" variable). Comments can be mailed to me at the below address. Alternatively, these standards can be viewed via the CDC Homepage under the section entitled Data and Statistics and the subheading of Proposed CDC health data standards.
If we receive only minimal comments regarding a proposed standard, it can be expected that it will be adopted by HISSB. However, if substantive concerns are received, then the proposed standard will be reviewed internally again, perhaps revised, and then redistributed for external comment. Thank you for reviewing these proposed standards and participating in this process.