Variations in health care services have been well documented worldwide. The result is that increased health care spending is not uniformly associated with improved health. Interest in increasing the value obtained from health care investments has stimulated efforts to develop the best science and apply it to health care delivery. Advances in communications and information technology have made such developments of the scientific basis for health care a truly global enterprise, but its application must remain local. Consumers' use of evidence-based information to choose providers, make treatment decisions, and play a more active role represents the ultimate local application of scientific information.