Markle works to realize the potential of advances in information technology to address previously intractable public problems for the health, security, and economic well-being of all Americans. We drive change through collaboration and convene leaders from the public and private sectors with expertise in business, government, information technology, privacy, civil liberties, health, national security, and economics. Markle is dedicated to developing innovations that harness the vast potential of the digital age to catalyze change and secure a vibrant future for America.
We are living in an age of unprecedented economic and social change. The forces of globalization and technology are transforming American society and the global economy on a scale comparable only to the Industrial Revolution. Although these forces bring progress, they are disrupting opportunities that have sustained America’s middle class for decades.
For millions of people, the American Dream which we hold so dear seems out of reach, a part of America’s storied past. The America we want our children to inherit—a country that is strong and inspires opportunity for all—is at risk.
Zoë Baird and Howard Schultz, Co-Chairs, Markle Economic Future Initiative
Opportunities are slipping out of reach, institutions aren’t keeping up, and leaders aren’t looking forward. With most of America’s institutions in business, education and government designed for the previous Industrial Age, it is time for our country to redesign these systems on a large scale. Markle’s current work seeks innovative solutions that inspire renewed faith in the American Dream and open up possibilities for all Americans. America has tremendous talent, resources and experience. What it needs is a strategy for a reimagined economic future. The Markle Initiative will be a catalyst for that strategy, coming together around a vision of how these forces can drive the next great American century by designing anew, and on a large scale.
Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse.
President Barack Obama, 2011 State of the Union Address
In 2000, when Markle set out to use information technology to address previously intractable public problems, we identified health and healthcare as an area where we could help transform the sector and improve people’s lives. At that time the vast majority of health information was on paper records and reported on index cards to public health authorities, but we foresaw the potential of a digital revolution in the health sector and created Markle Connecting for Health (Markle CFH). First convened in 2001, the Collaborative recognized that enabling individuals to access their personal health data was key to engaging people in their own care and advancing quality and cost-effectiveness. Over the course of the next decade more than 100 organizations and professionals spanning government, technology, privacy advocates and consumer interests groups worked together in Markle CFH to enable health information sharing while protecting privacy and security to improve health and health care.
So much of what has happened and the way it has happened really bears the intellectual fruit of what you started: distributed approaches, consumer engagement. Markle set the agenda and helped create consensus.
Farzad Mostashari, MD, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services
This diverse body reached unprecedented agreements on the technical standards and the policies and practices for information sharing in the Markle Connecting for Health Common Framework, which has since become the standard bearer for so much of private sector and government implementation of health IT. The recommendations of the Markle Common Framework informed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the landmark health care provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. HITECH paved the way for federal leadership and public and private investment to support health information sharing, and for the first time mandated that consumers be given electronic access to their own health information, while allocating $35 billion to incentivize the use of electronic health records through the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. Today, 94% of eligible hospitals and 64% of eligible medical practitioners have registered for the Meaningful Use program, and every American has the right to access their health information electronically.
Markle has demonstrated such tremendous leadership. Health IT can improve health care if we ask it to. I’m so profoundly grateful to Markle for all the work they’ve done, for the consensus they have built around the power of health IT to make a difference in health care.
Todd Park, former Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services; current Chief Technology Officer of the United States
Markle CFH also gave rise to the Blue Button, a simple idea that allows individuals to view, download and transmit personal health information. Patients can then choose to share their data with their physicians or family members or make it available if emergency treatment is needed. This idea was codified in the HITECH regulations, and the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services became the first organizations to implement the Blue Button. It has since been upheld as a cornerstone of federal health IT policy and a commonly cited model for patient engagement, improved quality of care and cost-effectiveness. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) asked all health insurance carriers in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program to add Blue Button functions to the personal health record systems on their websites. Today, Blue Button is supported by hundreds of organizations, and is a feature of many private insurers and health care organizations nationwide, which taken together has enabled tens of millions of Americans to access their own health information.
The environment you created, the persuasiveness of your arguments, were vital to the positions that candidates took … Not only did President Obama have a forthright position on health IT, it was virtually unanimous on the part of all the presidential candidates, right and left…That shows the extent to which this vision has been advanced, and advanced effectively, and advanced in a non-partisan and substantive manner.
David Blumenthal, MD, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services
Today’s health IT environment has evolved significantly from the environment in which the Markle Common Framework was first issued. In addition to enactment of the HITECH Act, there is now greater level of federal leadership, new regulation, and investment in health IT among providers is on the rise.
The dynamic threat of global terrorism and the September 11th attacks triggered concerns over the failures of American intelligence to protect our nation’s security. In response to these concerns, Markle created a bipartisan Task Force in 2002 comprising national security experts from the past six presidential administrations, senior information technology executives, and privacy and civil liberties advocates. Markle's President, Zoë Baird, and former Netscape Chief Executive Officer Jim Barksdale served as the co-chairs of this task force.
The Markle Task Force aimed to change all that. First its members created a vision of what a newly collaborative environment might look like. Next they conceived of a platform for the interactions and collaborations. And then they set about convincing all the various stakeholders that it was in their best interest to participate. These are the same steps,…many leaders have followed as they have looked to create massive change.
John Seely Brown, co-author, The Power of Pull
The Markle Task Force introduced breakthrough concepts that changed the business practices of the intelligence community. They advocated for moving from a ‘need to know’ culture to a ‘need to share’ environment of collaboration and collective problem solving. Over several years, the diverse group collaborated with government officials, private industry representatives, experts on technology and civil liberties, and foreign partners to see ways to create a trusted information sharing environment that would advance national security while also protecting civil liberties. The Task Force issued several groundbreaking reports, provided congressional testimonies and participated in extensive outreach activities, seeking implementation of its recommendations in consultation with all levels and branches of government.
An outstanding conceptual framework for this kind of "trusted information network" has been developed by a task force of leading professionals in national security, information technology, and law assembled by the Markle Foundation. Its report has been widely discussed throughout the U.S. government, but has not yet been converted into action.
9/11 Commission Report, August 2004
The highly regarded Task Force recommendations were integrated in the 9/11 Commission Report and into law. The 9/11 Commission noted that Markle’s reports, Creating a Trusted Network for Homeland Security and Protecting America’s Freedom in the Information Age, were “widely discussed throughout the US government.” Following the release of the 9/11 Commission Final Report, President Bush issued a set of Executive Orders to reform the intelligence community, providing a national framework to enable information sharing across the government, including with state and local governments. Congress subsequently adopted the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act 2004 and the Protect America Act of 2007, codifying the recommendations of the Task Force, and establishing an information sharing environment.
"Can you name any other private report that has been translated directly as legislation?" asked Paul Rosenzweig, senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "It is almost impossible to think of a private organization that has had as much influence on a substantive policy as the Markle Foundation has had on the information-sharing network in the legislation."
FWC.com, March 21, 2005
The work of the Task Force contributed to transforming America’s intelligence community and the security eco-system was drawn on by allies as well. Their recommendations improved security by enabling new business processes, informing the creation of new technical standards and specifications and guiding the procurement of information technology.