... then check out this story from Britain's Independent. The United Kingdom's National Health Service is going to abandon a $17 billion information technology system that was being rolled in over a 10-year period.

The Independent account suggests that big universal governent IT systems just can't be made to work. The alternative, apparently, is to have smaller, locally sourced systems which can to some extent communicate with each other. Here's the critical passage from the Independent:

"Instead, local health trusts and hospitals will be allowed to develop or buy individual computer systems to suit their needs – with a much smaller central server capable of 'interrogating' them to provide centralised information on patient care. News of the Government's plans comes as a damning report from a cross-party committee of MPs concludes that the £11.4b programme had proved 'beyond the capacity of the Department of Health to deliver' ." This was not a partisan conclusion: the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is Margaret Hodge, a member of the Labour party.

There may be a lesson here for the United States.