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Key Indicator Systems: Experiences of Other National and Subnational Systems Offer Insights for the United States

GAO-11-396 Published: Mar 31, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2011.
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The U.S. has many indicators on a variety of topics such as the economy and health, but has no official vehicle for integrating and disseminating this information to better inform the nation about complex challenges. Diverse jurisdictions across the U.S. and internationally are integrating and disseminating this information through comprehensive key indicator systems. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) authorized a congressionally appointed commission and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to oversee the development of a key national indicator system for the U.S. PPACA also directed GAO to study (1) how indicator systems are being used; (2) how indicator systems are designed and developed; (3) some factors necessary to sustain a system; and (4) potential implications for the development and use of a U.S. system. This study builds on a 2004 GAO report on key indicator systems. GAO also obtained information on 20 comprehensive indicator systems from diverse U.S. and international areas; reviewed seven of those systems in greater depth; and interviewed system experts, representatives, and stakeholders. GAO verified the accuracy of the information about indicator systems with system representatives, the NAS, the Office of Management and Budget, and selected federal agencies and made technical changes as appropriate. GAO does not make recommendations in this report.

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