According to a report by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] (http://www.cms.gov
), the United States spent nearly $2.6 trillion dollars on health care in 2010. It is estimated that this will nearly double by the end of this decade. This is underscored by a statement made by Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth (see Fortune, January 16, 2012, page 22): The U.S. spends an amount equal to 300 % of Indias GNP on health care, and Indias population is three times ours. In an attempt to reign in the health care costs, the Bush and Obama administrations have initiated a major effort in moving from paper-based medical record keeping to using electronic health records (EHRs), including the establishment of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and providing appropriate incentives for the Nations physicians to move to the use of EHRs. This will lead to considerable automation in the health care industry. In order to take advantage of such automation, it is imperative that the information generated in the health care enterprise is digitally encoded, stored and transported reliably, securely, and efficiently.