The State of the USA commissioned the Institute of Medicine in the spring of 2008 to create a panel of experts to select key measurements of the nation's health and health care.
As with all such efforts by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine was completely independent of State of the USA in choosing the members of the committee, in the committee's deliberations and in its recommendations.
State of the USA commissioned this effort with two basic conditions: that the indicators give a broad view of health in America, covering health care, health status, and health determinants; and that the IOM panel choose only 20 indicators, for maximum clarity and focus. The IOM committee was also asked to consider the availability and reliability of data for these indicators in its choices.
The committee was made up of the following experts:
- GEORGE J. ISHAM, Committee chairman, Medical Director and Chief Health Officer, HealthPartners
- RON BIALEK, President, Public Health Foundation
- NORMAN M. BRADBURN, Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago, and Senior Fellow, National Opinion Research Center
- CAROLINE FICHTENBERG, Chief Epidemiologist, Baltimore City Health Department
- JESSIE GRUMAN, Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Health
- DAVID HOLTGRAVE, Professor and Chair, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- CARA V. JAMES, Senior Policy Analyst, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
- DAVID A. KINDIG, Professor Emeritus of Population Health Sciences, Emeritus Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine
- LISA A. LANG, Assistant Director, Health Services Research Information, and Head, National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology, National Library of Medicine
- DAVID R. NERENZ, Director, Center for Health Services Research, Director, Outcomes Research, Neuroscience Institute, Henry Ford Health System JAMES D. RESCHOVSKY, Senior Health Researcher, Center for Studying Health System Change
- STEVEN TEUTSCH, Executive Director, U.S. Outcomes Research, Merck & Co., Inc.
- DAVID R. WILLIAMS, Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health, Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health
- ALAN ZASLAVSKY, Professor of Health Care Policy (Statistics), Harvard Medical School
The effort was launched in a public meeting on July 21, 2008, where representatives of State of the USA and other experts presented background information to the IOM panel and answered their questions. Presentations on that day included: an overview of State of the USA from Chris Hoenig, president and CEO of SUSA; a presentation and paper from health care consultant Cheryl Wold summarizing more than 20 other efforts to develop health indicators; a presentation on indicators and data quality from Robert Groves, director of the University of Michigan Survey Research Center and now the director of the U.S. Census Bureau. An overview of Healthy People 2020 from Carter Blakey of Health and Human Services; a review of community indicators from Richard Klein of the National Center for Health Statistics
Following the public meeting, the committee met privately on the next day and held two other closed meetings for its deliberations.
In the first week of December, the IOM delivered its recommendations to the State of the USA, which will help to publicize and promote them as part of its larger effort to create standard measures of national progress.
"This report takes an important step of capturing the health of the American people with a few key indicators," committee chair Isham said in a press release. "Given the gap between the relatively low performance and high costs of our health care system, data that is readily accessible on the Internet will be of great value in devising strategies to close this gap. We believe this set of measures, as deployed by the State of the USA project, can help move the nation toward better health."
Howard Parnell is editor and vice president of content and creative for State of the USA.