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Timeliness and Accuracy of Public Health Data


Public health data are collected, tested, analyzed, and released following a complex process designed to ensure their accuracy, clarity, and internal consistency. With only a few exceptions, public health data change very little from year to year. Therefore, the Center for Health Statistics recommends that data users make projections based on several years of older, quality-assured data to get estimates of current data, rather than use newer preliminary datasets that might have missing or duplicate records and still contain errors, especially if those errors systematically affect large portions of the data.
Vital Events
Birth, death, infant death, and fetal death data are released to the public in NJSHAD indicator reports and the query system only after passing all quality checks, which are required by the New Jersey Department of Health and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and can take multiple years to complete.

Records of births, deaths, and fetal deaths of New Jersey residents which occurred in other states are also included in final datasets. Out-of-state records are obtained through participation in the national Vital Statistics Cooperative Program (VSCP), which facilitates the exchange of information on vital events between the states of occurrence and residence.

After all quality checks have been passed and all out-of-state data have been received, the dataset is considered to be final. For these reasons, the vital events data we present here are often behind by a few years.
MoreBetterFaster report cover

More information about and an in-depth analysis of the challenge of timeliness in vital events data is available in the MORE BETTER FASTER report by the National Association of Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS).
Cancer Registry
New Jersey regulations require that hospitals, physicians, ambulatory care facilities, radiation treatment facilities, and private laboratories report all newly diagnosed cancer cases to the New Jersey State Cancer Registry (NJSCR), within six months of diagnosis.

NJSCR staff work diligently to ensure the data meet quality standards, which include timeliness, completeness of cancer case ascertainment, completeness of specific information on the cancer cases, and passing the data through a stringent edit program.

The annual release of the NJSCR data is usually a few years behind but is consistent with the release of cancer data among other state cancer registries as well as the nation.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site (https://nj.gov/health/shad). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 26 April 2018 15:17:00 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: https://nj.gov/health/shad ".

Content updated: Tue, 10 Apr 2018 05:01:14 EDT