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EVOLUTION OF A NATIONAL DATA BASE FOR DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT CLIENTS: JUNE 1989

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PLANS FOR CLIENT MINIMUM DATA SET

Historically, the States, NIDA, and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have worked collaboratively in statistical activities to foster the collection of data which are useful for policy decisions and program management in the States, as well as nationally. The collection and reporting of national alcohol and drug abuse services and programmatic data are heavily dependent upon the capability of State alcohol and drug abuse agencies to collect and report data and on the uniformity and standardization of data content within and across the various State statistical systems. Accordingly, NIDA and NIAAA plan to develop national client data standards for incorporation in individual State systems which have been developed since the Block Grant Program was implemented in 1981. This approach differs both from the CODAP system which required State participation in a nationally designed and operated system and the subsequent effort to combine data from separate State systems where there was not necessarily uniformity of definition.

To assist the States in modifying their client systems to accommodate a minimum set of variables, NIDA and NIAAA will provide grants to the State alcohol and drug abuse agencies for the purpose of adopting and implementing national data standards. Technical assistance will also be available to the States through the Institutes’ systems contractor. Further, the data standards are being developed by NIDA and NIAAA, in consultation with the States and appropriate national organizations. The initial discussions concerning minimum data set development among NIDA, NIAAA, and the States took place at two national meetings held in March 1989.

Based on proposals developed at these meetings and discussions between the Institutes, a revised proposed data set will be circulated for further State comment before the standards of a minimum data set are finalized for State implementation.

Initially, the minimum data set will include only admission data. The minimum data set should be reported on all alcohol and drug clients admitted to State-supported treatment programs. The system design for compiling national data, however, will include provision for possible future processing discharge data. The system will also provide for optional admission items recommended by States from existing State data collection systems.

Implementation and full operation of the national minimum client data set will be phased over the 3-year State grant project period, beginning with the award of grants on September 30, 1989. Broadly, the first year will be a developmental year to finalize the minimum data set, to develop the national system, and for the States to plan needed revisions in their systems. During the second year, States will implement the minimum data set and begin to submit data to NIAAA and NIDA. During the third year, the system will become fully operational with routine maintenance procedures put in place. Throughout the process of developing and implementing the national data base, discussions with the States will continue to identify and resolve problems, to make necessary refinements, and to develop long-range plans, including the possible option of developing a parallel discharge data set.

This page was last updated on May 15, 2008