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Lesson 5: Public Health Surveillance

Appendix D. Major Health Data Systems in the United States

Note: For additional information on data systems see the sources listed just below the table.

TitleTopicMethodApproachGeographic Level*
Air DataAir pollutionEnvironmental monitoringSampling and measurementL
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance SystemBehaviorPopulation surveyTelephone interviewN, S, Ci
Continuing Survey of Food Intake by IndividualsNutritionPopulation surveyPersonal interviewN
Fatal Analysis Reporting SystemFatal traffic crashesAgency and health-care provider surveyPolice, driving, and health records reviewN, S, L
HIV/AIDS Surveillance SystemHIV/AIDSDisease notificationReports by physiciansN, S, L
Medical Expenditure Panel SurveyHealth costsPopulation and provider surveysPersonal interview
Telephone interview
Monitoring the Future StudyDrug usePopulation surveySchool questionnaireN, S, Ci
National Ambulatory Medical Care SurveyAmbulatory careHealth-care provider surveyHealth record reviewN, R
National Crime Victimization SurveyVictims of crimePopulation surveyTelephone interviewN, S
National Electronic Injury Surveillance SystemConsumer product-related injuriesHealth-care provider surveyReports by emergency department staffN
National Health and Nutrition Examination SurveyGeneral healthPopulation surveyPersonal interview and examN
National Health Interview SurveyGeneral healthPopulation surveyPersonal InterviewN, R
National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care SurveyAmbulatory careHealth-care provider surveyHealth record reviewN, R
National Hospital Discharge SurveyHospitalizationsHealth-care provider surveyHealth record reviewN, S
National Immunization SurveyImmunizationsPopulation surveyTelephone interviewN, S, L
National Notifiable Disease Surveillance SystemInfectious diseasesDisease notificationReports by physicians and laboratoriesN, S, L
National Profile of Local Health DepartmentsLocal public health agenciesAgency surveyMailed questionnaireN, L
National Program of Cancer RegistriesCancer incidence and mortalityRegistryHealth record reviewN, S
National Survey on Drug Use and HealthDrug usePopulation surveyPersonal interviewN
National Survey of Family GrowthPregnancy and women's healthPopulation surveyPersonal interview
National Vital Statistics SystemBirth and DeathVital registrationReports by physiciansN, S, Co
School Health Policies and Programs StudySchool health policies and programsAdministrative data
Population survey
Mailed questionnaire
Personal interview
S, L
State and Local Area Integrated Telephone SurveyHealth carePopulation surveyTelephone interviewN, S, L
State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation SystemTobacco-related activitiesMultipleS
STD Case Surveillance Reporting SystemSexually transmitted diseasesDisease notificationReports by physiciansN, S, L
STORETWater qualityEnvironmental monitoringSampling and measurementL
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End ResultsCancer incidence and survivalRegistryHealth record reviewN, S, Ci
United States Renal Data SystemEnd stage renal diseaseMultiple
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance SystemBehaviorPopulation surveySchool questionnaireN, S

* N = national; R = regional; S = state; L = local (county, city, or town); Co = county; Ci = city.

Sources: Healthy People 2010: Tracking Healthy People 2010 [Internet]. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services; Part C. Major Data Sources for Healthy People 2010 [updated 2001 Jan 30; cited 2006 Jan 16]. Available from:
Stroup DF, Brookmeyer R, Kalsbeek WD. Public health surveillance in action: a framework. In: Brookmeyer R, Stroup DF (editors). Monitoring the Health of Populations: Statistical Principles and Methods for Public Health Surveillance. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2004, p. 1–35.