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Mayo Clinic to Host the Next Code-A-Thon September 21-22, 2010 For the NIHN Connect Program

Posted Sep 14 2010 5:19pm

We seem to be getting closer to the Nationwide Health Information Network image becoming available for expansion with public use.  As you can read at the link below this is up for discussion and would provide for a connection separate from the web in a sense to exchange healthcare information only.  If you are a coder and want to submit some of your work, then you can visit the site here.   This is a good deal for the government to get a bunch of free code I must say.  Members are everyone from government agencies to private industry that all contribute.

There is a download for the program as it stands today and more information is available here.   BD

“The CONNECT solution was built by federal agencies in response to their need to share health data among themselves and with other levels of government and the private sector using the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

Rather than have each federal agency independently build its own NHIN-compliant gateway solution, they banded together through the Federal Health Architecture (an E-Gov initiative) to build CONNECT. The CONNECT project team brought together more than 20 federal agencies to define project needs, it developed the solution, demonstrated its viability for connecting federal and non-federal health organizations, and it made the solution available to the public in less than a year.

The result of this work has provided a “gateway” to the future of American healthcare – a future where medical records follow the patient, doctors have relevant medical data at their fingertips, citizens are better served through more complete public health data, and federal benefits can be administered more efficiently.”


“Like the Internet itself, the existing health data-sharing service -- called the National Health Information Network -- was created for government use, in this case to allow doctors to exchange medical information from veterans' and military hospitals as well as for speeding up processing of Social Security disability claims. Though it's never been tested for wide public use, officials expect to quickly retool it to do so. image

The system relies on open-source software called CONNECT , which was developed by more than 20 federal agencies to share health information. Officials have spent millions of dollars on the system, but expect to adapt it for public use at little additional cost.”

At CONNECT Code-A-Thons, programmers convene to work together on projects related to CONNECT. A Code-A-Thon is a form of hackathon, which is a term well defined by Wikipedia at this link . The events occur quarterly and move each time to a different location throughout the country.

Code-A-Thons typically last two days and include short plenary sessions where experts provide detail about their experiences in the open source community, and program personnel provide insight into the current and future architecture of the solutions. This is followed by hand-on programming where attendees break up into groups and work on projects they are interested in. People work on what they want to with little to no restrictions on direction or goal of the programming.

CONNECT Code-A-Thons are attended by professionals and students, representing federal and state agencies, healthcare providers, insurance companies, health information exchanges, cities, universities and health IT vendors, among other health stakeholders.

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