federal, state, and local collaboration would require time, expertise, and financial support.
A commitment to improving the health and health care of children and adolescents requires careful and thoughtful measurement to gauge progress, existing gaps, and future directions. The increasingly diverse population of the United States necessitates that data be collected routinely; consistently; and with special attention to identifying, monitoring, and addressing racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, linguistic, and special health care disparities. Changing definitions of health, the changing sociodemographic profile of the nation’s next generation, and significant changes in health conditions call for improved measures in the nation’s health care and population-based information systems. The improved measures will need to address the availability of and access to health care services, the utilization and quality of health and health care services and their underlying processes, and the outcomes associated with their use.
Initial observations about the current state of measurement of child and adolescent health and health care quality suggest that conceptual work is necessary to organize data on child and adolescent health and health care quality; to identify priority goals in these areas; to reach consensus on valid and feasible measures for these goals; and to standardize reporting of these measures in federal, state, and local reports. These observations provided the starting point for the committee’s deliberations.