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The Public Health Informatics Institute's goal is to tip the public health belief system from its perception that the business of public health is unique in each locale, to a belief that the public health enterprise can succeed only if it defines tomorrow's information systems together. In most respects, public health agencies are not independent islands in need of tailor-made solutions. This topic brief provides an overview of the Institute's and NASCIO's "big picture" enterprise approach to developing comprehensive, cohesive public health information systems. This planning - putting the logical before the physical - starts with stakeholder consensus and understanding of the problem and business processes and drives toward defining common requirements for the systems that will do the work.