Health a Vital National Interest: Health Information a Strategic Asset

  • Colonel Gary A. Wheeler

The health of Americans is a vital national interest. Despite the considerable resources devoted to healthcare, the US falls short of achieving optimal health. A strategic assessment shows this gap is due to disproportionate resource allocation to healthcare delivery. Historic strategic attempts to improve health through preventive strategies suffer from similar misalignment of ends, ways, and means. Future health strategies must more fully address governance, health resourcing, and health information. Health information is a strategic asset and a key enabler for effective health management. Although healthcare information is a subset of overall health information, current sources of health information are predominately sourced from healthcare delivery organizations. Development of information sources that reflect the broader determinates of health are needed. The challenges to achieving comprehensive health management include the current focus on healthcare delivery and the resultant limited patient treatment information collected. Improvement of health governance and establishing a broad-based health information architecture are the first steps toward achieving optimized health.