Report shows data about pediatric and adolescent health is lacking

The United States lacks robust information about the health status of children and adolescents, particularly in areas that could provide guidance to policy makers and health care providers, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine.

According to the report, the Committee on Pediatric Health and Health Care Quality Measures reviewed hundreds of population surveys and administrative data sets and  found that measurement in these areas is lacking, but very important given the growing ethnic and racial diversity of children and adolescents and the increasing number of children who live in poverty.

The committee recommends a stepwise approach for improving data sources and measures of health and health care quality for children and adolescents.

  1. Set shared health and health care quality goals for children and adolescents in the United States
  2. Develop annual reports and standardized measures for existing data sets of health and health care quality that can be collected and used to assess progress toward those goals
  3. Create new measures and data sources in priority areas
  4. Improve methods for data collection, reporting, and analysis
  5. Improve public and private capacities to use and report data

(Sources: Institute of Medicine Report, http://www.iom.edu, April 25, 2011; AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, April 26, 2011)