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Integrated State Health Information Systems

Why Now?


Willis Goldbeck, Chairman, Institute for Alternative Futures, La Jolla, CA.

Mr. Goldbeck introduced the concept of integrated health information systems and offered a visionary rationale for States developing such systems. He addressed the advantages of, and obstacles to, integrating information systems. He used futuristic examples to help participants imagine scenarios in which ready access to integrated health information would be critical for the good of the community.

Mr. Goldbeck raised and dispelled some common myths or fears including:

  • We can't afford it: Instead we really cannot afford freedom of choice based on ignorance.
  • Privacy issues: There may be reason to fear violation of privacy, but technological solutions are already available.
  • Physicians won't use computers: Though often voiced, this issue is not serious and could readily be addressed by technology improvements and training.

The main lesson of this session was that the technology to integrate is sufficient now. The need has been articulated but political will and leadership may be lacking.

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