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This is the first edition of CAN/CSA-ISO/TS 21667, Health informatics - Health indicators conceptual framework, which is an adoption without modification of the identically titled ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Technical Specification 21667 (first edition, 2004-04-01). At the time of publication, ISO/TS 21667:2004 is available from ISO in English only. CSA will publish the French version when it becomes available from ISO.
This Technical Specification establishes a common health indicators conceptual framework for the field of health informatics. It is intended to foster a common vocabulary and conceptual definitions for a framework which
- defines the appropriate dimensions and subdimensions required to describe the health of the population and performance of a health care system,
- is sufficiently broad (high-level) to accommodate a variety of health care systems, and
- is comprehensive, encapsulating all of the factors that are related to health outcomes and health system performance and utilization, and regional and national variations.
This Technical Specification does not identify or describe individual indicators or specific data elements for the health indicators conceptual framework. As a next step, it has been proposed that a subsequent work item address the metadata, or the characteristics and common attributes, of actual indicators that might be contained in the health indicators conceptual framework. The definition of benchmarks and/or approaches used in the definition of benchmarks is outside the scope of this Technical Specification.
See Annex B for a more complete discussion of the underlying rationale for this framework.
Many countries have already developed their own models for directing the collection and analysis of health indicators. For the purposes of national reporting, these existing frameworks are not expected to change. Rather, this framework can be viewed as a compliment to currently existing frameworks. For example, if a particular health indicators framework currently focuses only on health system performance, the comprehensive approach suggested here may serve to augment and/or supplement the currently used model(s).
Individual jurisdictions may elect to operationalize the conceptual framework differently. Because the conceptual dimensions represent a high-level taxonomy, this provides considerable discretion and leeway in the selection of specific indicators by individual countries. This focus on a high-level taxonomy also allows for sufficient flexibility for the inclusion of new indicators in the future, as new issues emerge and additional data become available. Because specific data elements are not defined, jurisdictions have the freedom to populate this framework with the most relevant, and available, indicators, for their specific situations.