Title: Questions on public health forms: the metadata required to describe standard data elements deployed in dynamic contexts

Authors: Kristi Eckerson, Tim Morris

Addresses: Research and Health Sciences Division, Emory University, 1784 North Decatur Road, Suite #520, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. ' Research and Health Sciences Division, Emory University, 1784 North Decatur Road, Suite #520, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

Abstract: The desire for standardised, reusable questions has been expressed in a variety of domains, including Public Health and Emergency Preparedness and Response. Reusable questions will enable the collection of interoperable data and facilitate efficient aggregation and timely analysis. The metadata required to describe such reusable objects is multi-layered, including attributes that describe the question existing independent of any data collection context, plus metadata elements that describe its relationships to the form and its elements, the deployment of the form for data collection, and finally the context in which the question was answered. Contrary to common standard interpretation, this building and variable set of metadata does not cause the question or its underlying data element to become a different object, but rather it becomes a more refined version of the same object whose full description must be made available when the answer data is analysed.

Keywords: reusable questions; metadata; context; standards; public health forms; dynamic data collection definition; public health records; interoperability; standardised questions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFIPM.2010.040210

International Journal of Functional Informatics and Personalised Medicine, 2010 Vol.3 No.4, pp.260 - 272

Published online: 21 May 2011 *

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