Electronically-linked knowledge plays an increasingly central role in the delivery of health services worldwide. Medical data collection, archival, and analysis are all increasing in both rate and volume; large, cohesive collections of personal health information are emerging rapidly. Factors driving this integration include value-added methods of diagnosis and therapy, interest in evidence-based practices, safety concerns, and increased consumer demand for personalized, comprehensive medical services. Practitioners, businesses, patients, and the public at large would be well-served to develop and sustain a dialogue addressing these phenomena, including assessments their of economic, ethical, legal implications.
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