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

Exploring the NHIS Website
To get a better understanding of the features and limits of health surveys and how to find their results, visit the website for the National Health Interview Survey.

Once you are on this site, answer the following questions:
  • How is the survey conducted?
    • Who is included in the population covered by the survey?
    • How are the respondents selected for interview?
    • How many people are interviewed?
    • Who conducts the interviews?
    • How do survey responses for the NHIS differ from observations of medical personnel?
    • Does the survey collect information that a physician would need for a diagnosis?
  • Identify the major topics covered by the interviews
    • How does the survey measure health status, disability, health conditions?
    • What are the key control variables included in the survey?
  • Retrieve a report and identify a series or indicator from the results it reports.
  • Next, go to PubMed. Search for articles that report results from the survey.
    • How do the results reported in the government’s reports differ from those contained in articles that appear in the literature?
  • Finally, go to the website for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly review.
    • Look for surveillance articles that use data from the NHIS and other NCHS surveys such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
    • Notice that the MMWR articles feature more action orientation than is reported by NCHS.
      • What elements of the MMWR reports help physicians respond to emerging conditions?
      • How are data from the NHIS used in surveillance?
      • What are the limits of using those data in this way?