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Building the national health information infrastructure for personal health, health care services, public health, and research

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6947-3-1

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A national health information infrastructure for the United States should address the needs of personal health management, health care delivery, public health, and research. It should also address relevant global dimensions (e.g., standards for sharing data and knowledge across national boundaries). The public and private sectors will need to collaborate to build a robust national health information infrastructure, essentially a 'paperless' health care system, for the United States. The federal government should assume leadership for assuring a national health information infrastructure as recommended by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. Progress is needed in the areas of funding, incentives, standards, and continued refinement of a privacy (i.e., confidentiality and security) framework to facilitate personal identification for health purposes. Particular attention should be paid to NHII leadership and change management challenges.A national health information infrastructure is a necessary step for improved health in the U.S. It will require a concerted, collaborative effort by both public and private sectors.If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. Lord KelvinBetter health in the 21st century – it is what we seek for our families, our patients, our neighbors, our communities, our nation, and indeed people all over the world. It is a matter of quality of life for individuals, stability and happiness within communities, productivity for industry, security for nations, and professional satisfaction for heath workers. Maintaining and improving health is not an abstract notion. We already know much about where and how we fall short in assuring health. We also know the potential to improve health grows daily as result of the steady flow of research advances.The health of individuals and the population depends on four major domains of our vast, complex, and disorganized health secto


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