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Office of National Coordinator to Begin Real World Testing of NHIN–Clinical Information Exchange Between Healthcare Provid

Posted Nov 07 2010 10:53pm

If you are a healthcare IT person, then you know what this is but for those who are not aware of the NIHN, read up here as help is on the way to allow an exchange of records using NHIN Direct standards, in other words things like email and sending image documents and images in between practices, public and private firms, the VA and more is going to be possible through a secured network.  We all know now that regular email is not the way to go as patient information is not encrypted so this is the big answer coming up. 

So for the pilot there are around 200 participants from 60 organizations working on this project to include companies like Microsoft who was represented an very important arm of the program – security.  I do have to say they are a top line choice for security input in my opinion.  In addition, other participants included Epic medical records, the VA, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.  image

Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN): Background & Scope

“The Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) is being developed to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare. This critical part of the national health IT agenda will enable health information to follow the consumer, be available for clinical decision making, and support appropriate use of healthcare information beyond direct patient care so as to improve health.”


There’s a lot of information on the site and it’s not the easiest format to follow but keep in mind this is work in progress too At this page you can view some of the example situations and what standards were used to transport the medical information. 

The Health Internet – Government Looking to Expand The National Health Information Network For Public Use


“The CONNECT gateway that implements the NHIN specifications. Includes the Universal Client Framework that enables organizations to develop end-user applications using the enterprise service components.”

“CONNECT is a Federal Health Architecture initiative to develop a federal software solution to link federal systems to the NHIN.  CONNECT was built in open source and has now been made available to the healthcare industry at large.  The image CONNECT initiative takes the NHIN specifications and creates a production-ready open-source software solution that can be adopted by both federal and private entities. CONNECT provides a full software instantiation of the NHIN specifications and services.”

So far there’s not any reach technical information that has been released other than the use of the Connect Network.   If you are geeky and want to view the tool pages, there’s more available here.   BD

The Office of the National Coordinator will start real-world testing of clinical information exchanges between healthcare providers using “NHIN Direct” standards and services in late December or early January, according to the connectivity project’s director.

NHIN Direct is a set of technical tools and services that will enable providers to share secure messages, such as patient referrals and care summaries, in one-to-one “push” exchanges with other providers.

NHIN Direct project director Arien Malec told the Health IT Standards Committee yesterday that draft technical descriptions of standards for transporting messages will be ready next month, and that healthcare organizations are gearing up to test them in seven pilots around the country.

A streamlined version of the more robust nationwide health information network standard set, NHIN Direct will offer physicians and small practices the ability to conduct the basic health record exchanges required in the first stage of meaningful use

“We need to meet physicians where they are now,” Malec said, referring to essential exchange services the pilots will address so that physicians can advance from communicating via paper mail and fax.

Three of the testing organizations -- MedAllies, an EHR provider in New York; the Rhode Island Quality Institute, a collaboration of state organizations that promote EHRs; and Redwood MedNet, a health information exchange in northern California—will use NHIN Direct exchange tools for referrals and transitions of care to support continuity of care, he said.

In another pilot, VisionShare, a developer of healthcare software for secure Internet transmissions, will connect providers with state immunization registries, starting with Minnesota and Oklahoma. The firm is developing an adaptor or interface between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention system, to which the immunization registries are connected, and the NHIN Direct specifications.

In Tennessee, regional HIE Carespark will support care coordination between Veterans Affairs Department clinics and purchased healthcare services from private clinics. 

The pilot will track physician orders and workflows across such care settings and other institutional models.

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