Technologically, public health must move away from individual, independent software applications, separate databases without any form of interconnectedness and lock-in from traditional vendors selling software for solving complex domain problems. The Internet has clearly added a level of interconnectedness both socially and technically, but the Internet does not solve the larger public health computational and data sharing dilemmas. A Public Health Grid infrastructure would build upon the model of the Internet by providing the tooling and infrastructure necessary for application, data and computational interconnectedness and interoperability.
The public health community is always faced with financial challenges. From a budgetary perspective, contrary to historical and current practice with the development of a large-scale infrastructure, the intrinsically open and collaborative nature of this project facilitates highly efficient use of resources, thus minimizing required capital investments, and maximizing sustainability. By its very nature, this initiative provides a technology infrastructure which parallels the social initiative known as a "community of practice." This infrastructure is built upon a philosophy of distribution of effort and collaboration - not centralization and control. Although there are significant, and impressive health-related grid initiatives internationally, this technology has yet to be examined for implementation in the US public health system.