Recap of 3rd Nationwide Health Information Network Forum

On Thursday, Jan. 25 2007, Department of Health & Human Services hosted the 3rd Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Forum: Prototype Demonstrations and Business Models. I wasn’t able to make it, but one of our colleagues, Nainil Chheda, did attend and was kind enough to do a recap for us. Nainil (http://www.nainil.com) is a Knowledge Research Specialist at eClinicalWorks where he is responsible for ensuring the overall development of the product in compliance with the various healthcare standards (CCR, CDA) and certifications (CCHIT). He is a frequent attendee at nationwide healthcare conferences and various standards and interoperability committee meetings. Here’s what Nainil had to say about the NHIN meeting:

The purpose of the meeting was to demonstrate standards based network that allows sharing of patient information amongst various health care entities and to discuss the real time adaptability of a nationwide information exchange.

Various companies including Accenture, Northrop Grumman, Computer Sciences Corporation and IBM participated in the prototype demonstration. Consumer Empowerment (Who owns the patient data?) and Biosurveillance (Population Health) were amongst the topics that were discussed.

Below are excerpts from the meeting:

  • National standards when promoted enable true consumer participation and control over information exchange. The meeting demonstrated how health care stakeholders can participate at the national level to enhance efficiency and reduce the cost of implementation.
  • Privacy and security of patient’s personal records is an area that needs extra caution as the quality of care delivered depends on the integrity of the data. The NHIN prototype thus needs to be approached in a practical fashion and should have low barriers for entry. This will provide a platform for innovation, growth, effectiveness and trust.
  • Panelist Mickey Tripathi president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) mentioned that a true market (for NHIN) cannot be made from the top-down approach; widespread electronic medical records use is really fundamental in making the NHIN work.
  • Consumer Empowerment: Ownership of the patient’s record is still a question that is not quite clear. Will the patient be able to control who is allowed to see his/her medical record? How would the current/future health care applications support the question of “Ownership of data?”
  • Population Health (Biosurveillance): Currently there is no real time surveillance for any diseases. Hence Biosurveillance is required. For example: If there is an influenza attack on a particular state/region, the health care communities can submit (real-time) patient data to the state health registry and the state health department would run various algorithms to trigger “Alerts” to the health care officials declaring a state/region wide “Influenza Alert”. This will help in early detection of a deadly disease wide spread in a Geographic area.

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