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Participants in Connecting for Health.A Public-Private Collaborative were challenged at their initial meeting in September of 2002 to agree within nine months on a set of clinical data standards and to put into motion a series of actions designed to accelerate the adoption of those standards. By explicitly characterizing the process as a search for workable answers, the leaders of the Collaborative recognized that their primary role was neither to exhort nor to report. Instead, the most pressing task was to catalyze specific actions on a national scale that would rapidly clear the way for an interconnected, electronic health information infrastructure.
In pursuing this objective, the Collaborative focused on three key areas:
• Accelerating the rate of adoption of national clinical data standards in order to facilitate true interoperability. This was the task of the Data Standards Working Group.
• Identifying practical strategies and solutions for ensuring the secure and private transmission of medical information. This was the task of the Privacy and Security Working Group.
• Actively working to understand what consumers will need and expect from an interconnected health information system. This was the task of the Personal Health Working Group.
In addition, the members of this Steering Group were asked to articulate a vision for the Collaborative’s activities; provide strategic direction and oversight of the three Working Groups; and actively undertake efforts to further the Collaborative's goals.
The results of the activities of the Steering Group and the recommendations from the Working Groups are presented in the short summaries that follow. Each of the Working Groups has also authored a paper that more fully describes its work.