IOM: More data needed on health status of children

No data sources provide reliable indicators about the health status and the healthcare quality of children and adolescents in the U.S., says a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) study released Monday.

In the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization of 2009, Congress asked the IOM and the National Research Council to evaluate current efforts to measure child and adolescent health, and the quality of their healthcare services.

After studying the issue, the IOM Committee on Pediatric Health and Health Care Quality Measures concluded that a lack of standardization in key areas--such as race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, primary language spoken at home, and parental English proficiency--is hurting efforts "to identify, monitor, and address persistent health and healthcare quality disparities among children and adolescents."

Measurement in these areas has been particularly important because of the growing ethnic and racial diversity of children and adolescents and the rising number of children living in poverty, the committee said.

The committee suggested that a "life-course approach to measurement" is one of the key strategies in closing the gaps in measuring child and adolescent health and healthcare quality. This approach, which examines how events during each stage of life influence subsequent health and healthcare quality, is "particularly important" in developing measures for children and adolescents.

The report also calls for a five-step approach to stimulate research efforts among federal and state agencies and key stakeholders.

For more details:
- see the IOM report brief

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