Improving the current health care system so that quality care is accessible to all children, adolescents, and families is a national priority. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009, the Healthy People 2020 initiative, the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program and the National Quality Forum are some of the national policy efforts currently underway to improve pediatric health care quality.
Widespread use of valid and reliable measures to assess and monitor pediatric health care quality is critical. The Data Resource Center (DRC) supports these efforts by providing easy access to population-based data on health care access, access, health status and quality of care among children age 0-17.
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Consider the following advantages of using data from the numerous surveys hosted on the DRC to measure and improve pediatric health care quality:
1. They are standardized nationally. Standardization allows for consistent measurement and reporting across states and geographic areas within states (rural, urban, metropolitan area). The measures can also be easily integrated into measurement activities at other levels (health plan, provider, community) for additional standardization across platforms. Standardization of measurement is critical to allowing comparison across states and subgroups of children for proper comparing of apples to apples.
2. They allow for stratification by important subgroups of children as required in CHIPRA and other legislation. This enables comparison across a wide array of demographic and health status subgroups of children and youth, including race/ethnicity, presence of a special health care need, household income, household language and immigration status of parents and child.
3. They are highly relevant and valid. Many topics relevant to national health goals for children are validly reported by parents and are not possible to assess using other information systems, such as billing, administrative, clinical or medical records. The surveys include a wide range of contextual (family, neighborhood and school characteristics) and associational variables not available in other sources.
4. Readily available technical assistance and data use support. An array of resources on how to use these data at the national, regional, state and local levels are also available through the DRC.