Health and health care quality measures can provide valuable information about the health status of children and adolescents, as well as the outcomes associated with medical care, policy, and social programs. Despite the fact that the U.S. government currently supports hundreds of data sets and measures through federal surveys and administrative data systems, the United States lacks robust national- and state-level information about the health status or health care quality of children and adolescents, particularly in areas that could provide guidance to policy makers and health care providers.
In the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, Congress directed the IOM and the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the state of efforts to measure child and adolescent health and the quality of their health care services. The IOM found that the lack of standardization between data sets, as well as the lack of information on physical and social environments, limits researchers’ ability to accurately assess the data. To help overcome these barriers, the IOM recommends that HHS provide leadership on standardization in key data areas and guide other improvements to measurement. In addition, the IOM recommends a stepwise approach (see Figure) for improving data sources and measures of health and health care quality for children and adolescents. The approach is designed to stimulate and support collaborative efforts among federal and state agencies and key stakeholder groups.