Mirth Corporation, the leader in commercial open source healthcare information technology, successfully powered the nation's first publically staged multi-organization demonstration of NHIN Direct standards and technologies. The demonstration included secure clinical information exchange between healthcare providers across three prominent California-based Health Information Exchanges. It took place on July 9th at Redwood MedNet's 4th Annual HIE Conference in Santa Rosa, CA, 50 miles north of San Francisco.
Organizations participating in the landmark demonstration included the pioneering Redwood MedNet Health Information Exchange, as well as the Western Health Information Network from Long Beach, CA, and Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz. Technology partners supporting the initiative -- in addition to Mirth Corporation -- included Harris Corporation, MedPlus, creator of Care360, and Microsoft, developer of HealthVault, a personal health technology platform.
"Microsoft has been participating in the NHIN Direct effort because we believe connecting providers with each other and their patients is critical to driving improvements in the quality of care delivery," said Sean Nolan, chief technology architect in Microsoft's Health Solutions Group. "We were delighted to support this landmark demonstration and show that healthcare interoperability can be a reality today, thanks to technologies like Mirth and HealthVault."
The Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) represents a set of federally architected standards for health information exchange, as well as "on ramp" tools to enable healthcare organizations to exchange health information more easily. NHIN Direct, a companion project sponsored by the department of Health and Human Services, seeks to enable simple, secure transport of health information between healthcare providers -- including summary care records, referrals, discharge summaries and other clinical records.
Redwood MedNet, which operates a health information exchange (HIE) service in Northern California based on the Mirth open source software, conceived and managed the NHIN Direct demonstration. "NHIN Direct as a project is designed to accelerate adoption of HIE services," said Will Ross, Project Manager for Redwood MedNet. "We produced the live demonstration of NHIN Direct at our conference in order to highlight how transformative health information exchange technology can be. Broad adoption and use of these tools is not a question of 'if' but rather is only a question of 'when' agile electronic exchange of patient data will become the dominant paradigm."
Mirth continues to focus its energy and innovation on making interoperability tools widely and inexpensively available to healthcare organizations and providers," said Jon Teichrow, president of Mirth Corporation. "This successful demonstration -- using production code on real use cases with real physician users -- shows that the Health Internet can be a reality today. The implications are profound: when healthcare providers and organizations can get on the same page around patient information, good things happen in terms of safety, quality and cost," added Teichrow.
The demonstration used fictitious patient records to avoid any disclosure to the 200+ attendees, but used real system and production code, as well as "hands on" participation by physicians who helped narrate the demonstration. It took advantage of the widely used Mirth technology as well as NHIN direct standards that enable provider-to-provider exchange of clinical records using a secure email-like approach, with SMTP as the message protocol. It showed how electronic records and messages can support the care of a patient who presents in a hospital emergency department hundreds of miles from home -- and be safely and rapidly treated by an emergency physician who can access his medication records, allergies, as well as his primary physician for consultation.