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State of the USA Health Indicators: Letter Report
campaign with both parties advancing their solutions to the health care problems facing the United States.
SUSA is now poised to begin populating its website with data and, with advice from The National Academies, is assembling a set of key indicators that measure specific conditions or trends. An early domain in which data will be made available is the health/health care domain. It is important to note that the SUSA website is not intended for researchers interested in pursuing in-depth analysis of various issues and relationships among variables. The intent of SUSA is to make it possible for members of the public and policymakers, in a relatively short period of time spent on the website, to discover interesting facts that are valid and important.
The Committee on the State of the USA Health Indicators was asked to provide guidance on topic areas and indicators that should be included in the health/health care domain of the SUSA website. In conducting its task, the committee was asked to give consideration to the following:
Availability of high-quality data at the national level to accurately reflect the indicator construct, including the availability of data that can be broken down by important population subgroups (e.g., age, gender, socioeconomic status [SES], race/ethnicity), and geographic region (states, cities, communities);
Reliability and quality of data and data sources;
Issues that are most salient for intended audiences and users of SUSA;
Indicators that are sensitive to changes in other societal domains (socioeconomic or environmental conditions or public policies); and
Indicators that permit cross-country comparisons.
SUSA also asked that, to the degree possible, the indicators selected should be those that best reflect: (1) the overall health of the nation and the factors that are important in determining the current and future health of the nation and (2) the effectiveness and efficiency of the U.S. health care and public health systems. During the presentation by SUSA at the first committee meeting, SUSA President Christopher Hoenig stated that no more than 20 indicators should be developed for the health/health care domain. Additionally, because SUSA intends that official federal statistics will be the initial source of data (http://stateoftheusa.org/faqs/index.asp#5), the committee was charged with selecting only those indicators