The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics was established by Congress to serve as the statutory [42 U.S.C. 242k(k)] advisory body to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for health data, statistics, privacy and national health information policy and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In that capacity, the Committee provides advice and assistance to the Department and serves as a forum for interaction with interested private sector groups on health data issues. It fulfills important review and advisory functions regarding health data and administrative standards of national and international scope, conducts studies of prevailing current topics, and makes recommendations for improvement of the Nation’s health statistics and information systems.
NCVHS is uniquely positioned to serve as a national forum for collaboration with stakeholders to carry out its vision to improve the health and well-being of the population of the U.S. and its territories through advances in national health information and data policy. Through its work, the Committee informs HHS data policy decision-making as well as private sector and state data policy decision-making.
Over its 55-year history, the Committee has stimulated a range of improvements in national and international health data, data standards, and statistics. The Committee has been associated with ground-breaking contributions in such areas as disease classification, health surveys, uniform health data sets and other data standards, data needs for minority and other special populations, mental health statistics, State and community health data needs, and privacy protection for health data and information.
The Committee’s four strategic goals, as laid out in the NCVHS Strategic Plan are:
Strategic Goal 1: Improve data usability and analytic capabilities to sustain continuous improvement in health and well-being for all.
Strategic Goal 2: Accelerate the adoption of standards to achieve the purposes of safety, effectiveness, efficiency, privacy, security and interoperability of health data and systems.
Strategic Goal 3: Expand appropriate access and use of data while ensuring relevant safeguards.
Strategic Goal 4: Improve health information and data policy by taking the long view.
Committee membership consists of 18 individuals with a range of expertise including health statistics, electronic interchange of healthcare information, privacy, confidentiality, and security of electronic information, population-based public health, purchasing or financing healthcare services, integrated computerized health information systems, health services research, consumer interests in health information, health data standards, epidemiology, and the provision of health services. Sixteen of the 18 members are appointed by the HHS Secretary to terms of four years each. Two additional members are selected by Congress.
NCVHS meets 3 times a year. Meetings are open to the public. All meetings are webcast. Public participation at meetings is generally limited to the public comment times specified on the meeting agenda. Subcommittees organize hearings and roundtables on an ad-hoc basis to inform specific areas of the Committee’s focus. These meetings also are open to the public.