There is a critical need to push health care into the information age. Our nation faces an aging population, a rising tide of consumerism, escalating health care costs, medical safety lapses, and the increased complexity that advances such as genetic discoveries will introduce into clinical data analysis and application. In the face of such challenges, however, health care is not taking full advantage of the information and communications technologies that have revolutionized other industries. Enabling timely and efficient access to information can improve both the quality and cost-effectiveness of care and strengthen the efforts of consumers, patients, and caregivers.
Markle Connecting for Health, an effort convened by the Markle Foundation, intends to address the challenges of mobilizing information to improve quality, conduct timely research, empower patients to become full participants in their care, and bolster the public health infrastructure. The purpose of the Collaborative is neither to report nor exhort. It is, simply, to catalyze specific actions on a national basis that will rapidly clear the way for an interconnected, electronic national health information infrastructure.