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volume 17, number 2, may 2006 nbr analysis Informing and Strengthening Policy in the Asia-Pacific Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Michael P. Birt Information Technology: Advancing Global Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Craig Mundie [This page intentionally left blank.] Foreword This NBR Analysis traces its origin back to a presentation by Craig Mundie at the inaugural Pacific Health Summit in June 2005 in Seattle. The Summit gathers top leaders in science, policy, public health, medicine, and industry from around the AsiaPacific region to discuss how emerging science and technology can be connected to global health policy in order to realize the dream of a healthier future. His presentation on how emerging information technology could advance the cause of global health was perceptive, forward-looking, and passionate. We at NBR were pleased when Craig Mundie agreed to shape his ideas into an NBR Analysis. He provides us with an elegant but powerful architecture to show how we can use information technology to address the major challenges facing global health care, whether it be an under-served village in China or an urban hospital in a developed country facing the strain of an aging population. Above all, Mundie shows us how information technology can shift our focus from costly late-stage disease management to a proactive investment in keeping people healthy. Inspired by an Asian model of early health, he shows us the path to a healthier world and offers to be our guide. As Mundie acknowledges, however, such a transformational change is never easy. He notes that, in order to ensure that information technology yields its full promise, we must also lay the foundation for a transformation of global health policy. This realization requires both a broad program of cooperation among stakeholders and a fundamental reshaping of the health infrastructure. Mundie concludes with a series of broad and forward-looking policy challenges for us to consider. This brings us back full circle to the Pacific Health Summit and its vision of connecting science, innovation, and policy for a healthier world. Mundie writes from a unique vantage point. As a senior vice president and CTO of Microsoft, he has an intimate understanding of technology. As a peripatetic traveler, he also has an intimate and first-hand understanding of the need around the globe for better and lower-cost health care and how information technology can make a difference. Moreover, as evidenced both in his long-time role as trustee of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and in his support for the center’s research on 46 the prevention and early detection of disease, we know that he brings to his work a personal passion. We are grateful to The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for its support of the NBR Analysis series. As with all issues of the NBR Analysis, the author is solely responsible for the content and recommendations of this paper. Michael P. Birt Director, Center for Health and Aging Executive Director, Pacific Health Summit 47 Information Technology: Advancing Global Health* Craig Mundie Craig Mundie is Chief Technical Officer, Advanced Strategies and Policy, Microsoft Corporation. Prior to joining Microsoft, he co-founded and served as CEO of Alliant Computer Systems. He is a trustee of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, advisor to the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and since 2002 has served on the Council on Foreign Relations. * The author would like to thank Claire Topal and Michael Birt for their support and contribution to this work. 48 Executive Summary This essay explores how we can use information technology to address major stressors on health care around the globe. Main Argument: This essay makes the following main arguments: • three major stressors on global health care can, and must, be addressed: - health care systems in general are too focused on acute care and late-stage disease - health care is prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain in most emerging economies - the world’s population is aging significantly, which is already putting mounting economic strain on governments, insurers, taxpayers, and caregivers • information technology (IT) can help scale health care appropriately to each economy and reduce the burden of health care delivery on medical practitioners, caregivers, and economies encumbered by aging populations • information technology can also enable a transformation from disease management to a focus on proactive wellness, also known as “early health” Policy Implications: To ensure that technology is used to help promote safe and effective early-health systems, policymakers should be aware of the following: • transforming health care through IT will...


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