Chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease, are common and costly, yet they also are among the most preventable health problems. Surveillance systems focused on chronic diseases have a potentially key role in reducing this health toll. Currently, surveillance data are collected from a variety of sources, often with beneficial results. But a critical link is missing: There is no surveillance system that operates on a national basis and in a coordinated manner to integrate current and emerging data on chronic diseases and generate timely guidance for stakeholders at the local, state, regional, and national levels. To help close this gap, two federal health agencies—the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—asked the IOM to develop a framework for building a national chronic disease surveillance system focused primarily on cardiovascular and chronic lung disease.
In this report, the IOM presents a conceptual framework for national surveillance of cardiovascular and chronic lung disease and calls on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to adopt it. The IOM recommends that HHS take the lead in overseeing and coordinating development and implementation efforts of a national surveillance system using this framework. In its design, HHS should work to develop a system that can provide various types of data that individually and collectively can be used to understand the continuum of disease prevention, progression, treatment, and outcomes. Without a national surveillance system, the gaps in current monitoring approaches will continue to exist, making it more difficult to track the nation’s health status despite advances in technology and data collection. The framework put forth by the IOM not only could help with tracking and monitoring cardiovascular and chronic lung disease but might well become a building block for an integrated surveillance system for the broad spectrum of chronic diseases.