NCHS Data Linkage Activities: Opportunities and Challenges for Population Health Research

Kimberly A. Lochner, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC
Christine S. Cox, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC

Federal health surveys provide significant information on population health in the United States. Yet, surveys must balance the range of health topics covered against the burden imposed on respondents. In addition, cost constraints often prohibit active follow-up of survey participants to assess their subsequent health status and mortality. For these reasons, linking individual survey records to other data sources provides a scientifically valuable and cost-effective means to enrich existing data collection activities. Recently the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has expanded its data linkage program for its population-based surveys, increasing the potential for research that can advance our understanding of the multiple factors influencing population morbidity, disability, and mortality. This paper will describe NCHS’s new linked data sources, the methodological challenges to record linkage due to increasing identification data non-response, and examples of population health research possible with the linked NCHS data.

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Presented in Poster Session 2