Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

What is the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)?

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an annual randomized telephone survey system in the United States that aims to collect information on a variety of health-related factors among the population. Some of the factors of interest range from physical exercise, drug/alcohol usage, and nutrition habits, all the way to chronic health conditions, immunization activity and history, and use (or lack thereof) of preventive health services.

Along with answering health-related questions, respondents provide demographic data, such as age, race, state of residency, and more. To participate in the BRFSS, a respondent must be 18 years of age or older and noninstitutionalized.

All 50 states are surveyed by the BRFSS. The BRFSS interviews hundreds of thousands of Americans per year, and data collected by the BRFSS is available for public viewing on the CDC’s website.

Why is the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) important in healthcare?

Healthcare data is a helpful tool that enables researchers, public officials, and non-profit organizations to analyze population tendencies and discover health trends across many different demographics. Seeing as healthcare data is private, and not usually able to be shared, the BRFSS is an important program that helps compile essential healthcare data in a voluntary manner.

Decision makers and community leaders can then use this data to devise and implement health prevention strategies, as well as assign resources to the areas and demographic groups that are most in need of them.