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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Government agencies and private organizations collect and compile health statistics from an array of sources; including, health care records, case data, and records of vital events as well as specially designed statistical surveys.

This section of the course describes procedures for collecting health statistics and relates those procedures to sources of information.

Records of Care
Health statistics are sometimes collected as a byproduct of providing health care or paying for it.

For example, doctors or hospital staffs record the details of each birth as required by law. At the same time, they compile information about the circumstances of each birth.

Payers [insurance companies or government insurance agencies such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services require providers to report on the diagnoses associated with the procedures they perform for people who are covered by insurance. Statistical records of these transactions are a source used to generate some kinds of health statistics.

Case Data
Health statistics also are compiled from case records that report on specified conditions presented to physicians and other providers.

Health care professionals are required to report certain conditions [such as communicable diseases] to the public health authorities.

Local health authorities compile registers of people living with selected conditions—such as cancers. These are based on case reports filed by physicians.

The introduction of electronic health records may open health statistics to using many other kinds of case records as these are recorded in standard formats.
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