Term: National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS)

Description: The NCVHS was established by Congress to advise the Department of Health and Human Services on health data, statistics and national health information policy. The committee performs review and advisory functions regarding health data and statistical problems of national and international interest, stimulates or conducts studies of such problems, and makes proposals for improvement of the Nation’s health statistics and information systems.

In the past, the Committee has been associated with contributions in various areas including 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 information.

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act granted the NCVHS a broader role regarding nationally uniform standards for the confidentiality of health information, as well as other privacy issues.

The NCVHS is in a unique position to serve as a national forum for the collaboration of interested parties, with the long-term goal of improving the compatibility of private sector, state, and federal health information systems, while assuring the confidentiality of the information collected.

The Committee is composed of 18 individuals who are distinguished in one or more of the following fields:

  • health statistics.
  • electronic interchange of health care information.
  • privacy and security of electronic information.
  • population-based public health.
  • purchasing or financing health care services.
  • integrated computerized health information systems.
  • health services research.
  • consumer interests in health information.
  • health data standards.
  • epidemiology.
  • the provision of health services.

Sixteen of these members are appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for a term of four years, and the other two members are appointed by Congress.

All NCVHS meetings are open to the general public.

Applications: Society's reliance and embrace of electronic data and systems raises new privacy issues. As newer methods and more electronic systems are brought into the medical field, it will be important to insure that the Department's current policies are appropriate for new technologies.

Web Resources:
NCVHS Web Site — http://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/

The National Health Information Infrastructure — http://aspe.hhs.gov/sp/NHII/

Related Terminology:
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Health Information Infrastructure (NHII)
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

NCVHS Web Site — http://www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/