Markle Connecting for Health Announces Commitment to Create Incremental Roadmap for Achieving Electronic Connectivity in Health Care | Markle | Advancing America's Future
Markle Connecting for Health Announces Commitment to Create Incremental Roadmap for Achieving Electronic Connectivity in Health Care | Markle | Advancing America's Future

Markle Connecting for Health Announces Commitment to Create Incremental Roadmap for Achieving Electronic Connectivity in Health Care

Publication Date: January 21, 2004 | Back to Latest News

NEW YORK, NY—Markle Connecting for Health, an extraordinary collaborative of public and private stakeholders, today announced it will launch a continuation of its effort to promote electronic connectivity in the healthcare field in order to improve patient care and lower costs while protecting patient privacy. At a meeting yesterday in New York, the project’s Steering Group, comprised of more than 50 leaders and decision makers in the health care industry, renewed their commitment to advancing the use of electronic connectivity in health care. The critical role of information technology in combating medical error and improving patient safety has been highlighted in the past by the Institute of Medicine and most recently by President Bush in his State of the Union address. The Steering Group also committed to create an incremental Roadmap to achieving electronic connectivity. The Roadmap is necessary for prioritizing actions, fostering innovation and leveraging efforts across the public and private sector. Markle Connecting for Health, which was established by the Markle Foundation, also announced that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation would be joining Markle as a funding partner in the next phase of its work.

“The success of Markle Connecting for Health’s initial phase, which broke through the long-standing impasse related to data standards, was based on finding achievable milestones and focusing on areas where we could obtain consensus, which is how we are going to proceed now in developing our Roadmap,” said Dr. Carol Diamond, Managing Director at the Markle Foundation. “The real potential of this initiative however, rests on its collaborative approach and the addition of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation illustrates the extraordinary nature of Markle Connecting for Health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a long and distinguished history of improving health and health care in this country and we are honored to be partnering with them.”

“Patients deserve to have a safe and reliable health care system that provides quality care. The only way we’re going to get there is if public and private sectors come together to create an interoperable electronic infrastructure for healthcare,” said John Lumpkin MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Chair of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. “We’ll need to put our greatest efforts towards what we can all agree on and at the same time work towards common ground in areas where we disagree.”

Markle Connecting for Health brings with it a continued commitment from many of the nation’s foremost leaders in the public and private sector. The Markle Connecting for Health Steering Group, which met yesterday in New York, is led by Daniel Garrett, vice president and managing director of Computer Sciences Corporation’s Global Health Solutions Practice; Herb Pardes, M.D., President and CEO, New York-Presbyterian Hospital; John Lumpkin, M.D., MPH, Senior Vice President for Health Care, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Carol Diamond, M.D., MPH, Managing Director, Markle Foundation’s Information Technology for Better Health Program. Janet Marchibroda, Executive Director of the Foundation for the eHealth Initiative serves as the Executive Director.

“We have an opportunity to bring the innovation and expertise of the private sector together with the public sector to help drive our healthcare system toward a common goal of interoperable information technology for patient safety and health care quality,” said Dan Garrett, who was named an Executive Vice Chair of the Steering Group. “This initiative is a unique opportunity to maximize the complementary expertise and experience of the public and private sectors.”

“The healthcare industry needs to be able to deliver information where and when it is needed in a private and secure manner if we are to provide the best possible care to patients,” said Herb Pardes, also an Executive Vice Chair of Markle Connecting for Health. “By acting collaboratively and decisively, I believe that the next phase of Markle Connecting for Health’s work will bring us even closer to an interoperable healthcare network that will lower costs and improve patient care while at the same time protect patient privacy.”

The continuation of the Markle Connecting for Health initiative comes as a result of strong support in the public and private sectors for ongoing collaborative efforts that can catalyze action toward an electronic interoperable health care information infrastructure so vital to addressing the safety, quality and effectiveness of health care in this country. The first phase of Markle Connecting for Health was a $2 million initiative supported by the Markle Foundation. In next phase, Markle Connecting for Health will have similar support from Markle and will also benefit from the additional resources and expertise of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Markle Connecting for Health will now build on the ground-breaking achievements of its earlier work by identifying, tackling and testing solutions to the technical and policy barriers. Under a plan developed by the Steering Group, Connecting for Health will accomplish its work through four new working groups and a demonstration project. Specific goals of Phase II include:

  1. A Roadmap detailing an action agenda of achievable objectives over the next twelve months that will leverage activities between public and private healthcare sectors toward a health information infrastructure that fosters innovation, encourages information sharing, and provides exchange of necessary health information in a private and secure manner.
  2. Challenging barriers that impede patient-centered information sharing within a series of Working Groups. Specific areas of focus will be on understanding the business and organizational issues of community-based information exchange, the issues relevant to sharing electronic information with patients, and certain aspects of technical interoperability. The working groups and their leaders are:
  3. Working Group on Electronic Health and Personal Health Record chaired by: David Lansky PhD, president of the Foundation for Accountability -FACCT.
  4. Working Group on Accurately Linking Health Information for Safety and Quality chaired by Clay Shirky, Adjunct Professor New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program
  5. Expert Panel on Organizational Models and Financial Sustainability of Community-Based Health Information Exchange chaired by David Brailer, MD, PhD, Senior Fellow for Information Technology and Quality of Care at the Health Technology Center
  6. Expert Panel on Data Exchange Standards chaired by Wes Rishel, Vice President and Research Area Director, Gartner and Past Chair HL-7

3.A Demonstration Project is planned to test and evaluate the working groups’ products in real-world settings.


Although one of every seven dollars spent on goods or services in the United States goes to health care, our current system is highly fragmented and, in the words of the Institute of Medicine, lacks even “rudimentary” clinical information capabilities. Vital data sits in paper-based medical records that can neither be accessed easily nor combined into an integrated form to present a clear and complete picture of patient care. This information inadequacy is pervasive. Everyone who uses the system constantly confronts large gaps in needed information, be it at the doctor’s office, the hospital or at government agencies charged with protecting public health.

The problem of adverse drug events alone represents a sizable opportunity for information systems. According to an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an estimated 770,000 people are injured due to adverse drug events annually in the U.S and up to 70 percent of these incidents may be avoidable. According to the Center for Information Technology Leadership, nationwide adoption of advanced computerized order entry systems in ambulatory care could eliminate up to two million adverse drug events and 190,000 hospitalizations per year, and could save up to $44 billion annually in reduced medication, radiology, laboratory, and hospitalization expenditures.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) seeks to improve the health and health care of all Americans. To achieve the most impact with our funds, RWJF prioritize grants into four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse—tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs. To accomplish these goals, RWJF use a variety of strategies. RWJF supports training, education, research (excluding biomedical research), and projects that demonstrate the effective delivery of health care and concentrates on health care systems and the conditions that promote better health.

Markle Connecting for Health is a public-private collaborative with representatives from more than one hundred organizations across the spectrum of health care and information technology specialists. Its purpose is to catalyze the widespread changes necessary to realize the full benefits of health information technology while protecting patient privacy and the security of personal health information. Markle Connecting for Health tackles the key challenges to creating a networked health information environment that enables secure and private information sharing when and where it is needed to improve health and health care. Learn more about Markle Connecting for Health at