multiple committees that oversee department activities), framed around the vision for the nation, departmental mission, and key goals. Referring back to the set of established goals in successive years would provide continuity over time and help policy makers and the public better understand progress made and what is needed in order to achieve further improvements. Involving the surgeon general—“America’s doctor”—in the preparation, presentation, and dissemination of the report would further strengthen the surgeon general’s role as an authoritative voice on health issues and chief advocate for Americans’ health, and would demonstrate that the report is scientifically valid rather than politically motivated.

The committee explicitly does not want such a report to stimulate another massive, micro-level data collection effort and lengthy printed document; instead it suggests that this be an orally presented report that utilizes the recommended information system and draws insofar as possible on existing data and analyses.

Related Recommendations

  1. The department should use the data, evaluation, and information system to

    • enable the secretary to provide Congress with regular reports on progress toward achieving departmental goals,

    • inform policy development,

    • facilitate cross-department activities,

    • provide operational information to program management for quality improvement and midcourse corrections, and

    • support effective long-range planning.

  1. For those outside the department, the system should

    • be accessible, transparent, timely, and reliable, and

    • provide useful, privacy-protected information regarding department activities.

  1. The department should demonstrate accountability through continuous critical assessment of program efficiency, equity, impact on health, and cost-effectiveness, and through corrective action for underperforming programs.



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