A long time ago, there wasn’t much more to health care than people doing their best to take care of themselves and others. Over time, traditions emerged, were refined, and then were passed along from generation to generation. In the grand scheme of things, biomedical science and related advances are very new and many have been impressive. Even more recently, technologies related to information and communications are downright mind-boggling.
We still live in a world where people do their best to take care of themselves and of others. Added to the present-day picture however, are hundreds of medical record formats, many hundreds of new health care-related professions, thousands of hospitals, tens of thousands of new diagnoses and procedures, millions of medications and devices, tens of millions of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, hundreds of millions of scientific Web pages, and almost seven billion ... of us. We thought it might be worth spending a few moments on the management of health care information.