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Most important, the panel recommends that using performance measures to accurately assess the effectiveness of public health, substance abuse, and mental health programs be viewed as an on-going, long-term public administration activity, with a strong federal commitment to providing technical assistance and infrastructure support to its partners at the state and local level. Although much useful information can be gathered over the next several years on health outcomes, processes, and capacities, the full utilization of performance measures to improve programs must await the development of more and better empirical information on the effect of interventions on outcomes, as well as more complete, uniform, and timely data on those outcomes. Longer term research and the development of the information systems needed to support more adequate performance measures in these areas will be the subject of the panel's second report.