Recent events have tragically underscored the need to connect healthcare and public health professionals and the public to sound information — and to each other. The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) hopes this report can prompt the vigorous strategic action that is required to make this vision a reality. Information for Health: A Strategy for Building the National Health Information Infrastructure offers a comprehensive assessment of the leadership required to improve the health of individuals, communities, and the Nation by better use of information and communication technology. Some of what needs to be done is already happening or is envisioned. But too many efforts are proprietary, stovepiped, or incomplete. Very little is coordinated in ways that can best serve the public interest. This report from the NCVHS Workgroup on the National Health Information Infrastructure pulls the diverse issues into a broader policy framework. Based on input from national hearings, experts, and stakeholder organizations, the Committee calls for Federal leadership, under the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, of a collaborative public-private effort. It is a task that should engage all who have a stake in health improvement.
John R. Lumpkin, M. D., M. P. H.
Chair, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics