The potential components and benefits of a national health information infrastructure are already visible. Achieving the full potential of the NHII will require efforts by Congress, government agencies, health care professionals and organizations, technology and communication companies, research institutions, community organizations, and the public.
To help develop a national consensus on the best way to accomplish mutual goals, the NHII project will be joining the 21st Century Health Statistics project in a series of regional hearings in 2000-2001. Individuals, communities, and professionals will be invited to contribute to a common understanding of the country's health information needs and opportunities for improvement. This interim report will be widely distributed and publicly available on the Internet so that suggestions can be gathered. A final report with recommendations will be approved by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, and presented to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the HHS Data Council, HHS agencies, and Congress in 2001.