In a recent briefing, Charles Friedman Deputy National Coordinator for Healthcare IT provided an update on the progress of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) and the NHIN Trial Implementation Demonstration. The ONC briefing document reports that "the NHIN is being built on the Internet to provide a safe and secure way for health-related organizations to interconnect – bridging various technologies, approaches and geographies. Some of the defining characteristics of the NHIN is that:
- It is a network of networks
- It has no national data store or centralized systems
- It has no national patient identifier
- It consists of standards, implementation guidelines, and specific testing abilities to measure conformance. Together, they represent kind of a shared “dial-tone” that allows diverse organizations using different architectures and technologies to exchange health information, safely and securely. The NHIN technology is being built to permit various policy options, and will continue to adapt as those policies evolve."
The ONC briefing emphasized the results of the "NHIN Cooperative on specifications and trust agreements. They achieved consensus and established a common and replicable way (based upon standards) to interconnect - irrespective of a particular technology or solution. Their work forms the foundation that will enable others to join the NHIN over time. "
The ONC briefing described the NHIN Trial Implementation Demonstration's support for:
- the patient (emergency care, transfer of care, wounded warrior)
- consumer preferences (opt in/out of information exchange, others)
- business use (authorized release of information to Social Security for disability determination).