Ideally, computer networks should help raise the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and enable consumers and providers to make smarter decisions. But government and the private sector have failed to resolve such critical problems as the protection of medical privacy and production of reliable comparative data on plans and providers. While individual enterprises are building information networks, community networks serving public purposes have lagged. An information revolution in health care is in the making, but the hope that it will allow consumers and providers to make smarter choices is still far from being realized.
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