Summary: Regional health care databases are being established around the country with the goal of providing timely and useful information to policymakers, physicians, and patients. But their emergence is raising important and sometimes controversial questions about the collection, quality, and appropriate use of health care data. Based on experience with databases now in operation and in development, Health Data in the Information Age provides a clear set of guidelines and ...show moreprinciples for exploiting the potential benefits of aggregated health data--without jeopardizing confidentiality.
A panel of experts identifies characteristics of emerging health database organizations (HDOs). The committee explores how HDOs can maintain the quality of their data, what policies and practices they should adopt, how they can prepare for linkages with computer-based patient records, and how diverse groups from researchers to health care administrators might use aggregated data. Health Data in the Information Age offers frank analysis and guidelines that will be invaluable to anyone interested in the operation of health care databases.