Starting in 1997, on its 40th anniversary, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) will begin collecting data in a radically redesigned form. The redesign was undertaken because interviews were too long; new or different kinds of information were needed, including better measures of health status and chronic conditions: and the ability to analyze family-level data was limited. A shortened annual core survey will be supplemented with a rotating set of questions designed to provide more detail than the current NHIS with respect to health status, utilization of health care services, and health promotion and disease prevention. One adult from each family will be objectively selected to be the respondent, and a significant portion of the data will be collected by self-report. For several of the most common chronic conditions, additional information will be routinely collected that will improve the clinical relevance and quality of data about those conditions. While there will be some costs associated with these changes, their net result will be to enhance the value of NHIS data in addressing current health policy issues.