Thursday, May 29, 2008

Whither the Nationwide Health Information Network?

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced the expansion of the participants for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) trial. The six new awardees join the 9 federal agencies that manage health information that already have NHIN contracts.

So where are NHIN trials headed over the next year?

HHS announced that the trials will address four areas of health information exchange:
  1. Patient lookup and information retrieval
  2. Secure information routing and delivery (including, but not limited to a defined summary patient record)
  3. Provision of data for population uses
  4. Consumer managed access to appropriate information

The trials will test use of the NHIN standards to address these critical areas of health information exchange. The trials will use sample data to avoid any inadvertent issues with privacy and security. The trials are scheduled to complete mid 2009.

The awards are called cooperative agreements and bring together IDN's, state, regional and other health information exchange participants into the NHIN. Some very capable, high profile organizations are the awardees announced by HHS:

  • HealthLINC/Bloomington Hospital
    An e-health collaborative with a multi-stakeholder board of directors consisting of representatives of multiple competing organizations, physicians, and hospitals that serves a ten county area in South Central Indiana with a population of 367,000.

  • Cleveland Clinic
    A multi-specialty multi-facility academic medical system based in Cleveland, Ohio that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education for 5.3 million patients. Cleveland Clinic facilities include the main, downtown Cleveland campus, nine regional hospitals, a Florida hospital, and 13 northeast Ohio community Family Health Center outpatient clinic locations.

  • Community Health Information Collaborative
    A partnership among hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, tribal health facilities, higher education, and public health departments that serve 650,000 patients in a rural, 18-county region in Minnesota.

  • HealthBridge
    The largest and oldest health information exchange located in Cincinnati, Ohio, serving a tri-state region connecting 24 different hospitals and health systems, 17 local health departments, two national and multiple local laboratories, radiology and diagnostic centers, physicians offices, community health center and nursing homes, and currently covering 1.8 million patients.

  • Kaiser Permanente
    The nation's largest private integrated health care delivery organization, serving over 8.7 million members in 10 states and DC.

  • Wright State University
    HealthLink RHIO, West Central Ohio's regional health information exchange, represents hospitals, providers, Medicaid managed care, labs, state and local public health, public schools, social services and safety net providers, and Clark and Champaign County Health Information Exchange, and covers a population of over 500,000.

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