Next up for NwHIN: Governance

By Tom Sullivan
01:48 PM
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ONC said that it is working on governance for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) to enable more providers to join the initiative.

Speaking at the Government Health IT Conference 2011 here, Doug Fridsma, the director of ONC's office of interoperability and standards, shed some light on how NwHIN is taking shape.

[Government Health IT cover story: The Direct route to more pertinent patient information.]

About a year and half ago, ONC realized that some of the NwHIN technologies are too expensive or resource intensive for smaller providers, and the governance will help providers of all sizes solve common challenges, endorse standards, and enforce certification, Fridsma added.

“Part of NwHIN governance is going to be establishing rules and interoperability,” Fridsma said. “A lot of people think of NwHIN as the initial pilot we had, but it’s the standards, services, and policies that enable” health information to be exchanged. Other key pieces include Blue Buttons, and the Direct Project.

Early NwHIN pilots were restricted to health entities under contract with the government, Fridsma said, adding “the hope is with governance we’ll be able to lift that.”

[Related Q&A: On driving common governance between the DoD and VA.]

Fridsma explained that “the plan is to continue to grow the partners participating in the nationwide health information exchange.”

To that end, ONC is working on a governance draft NPRM, which Fridsma said will be issued in late 2011 or early 2012.