Fed presence at Interoperability Showcase increases eight fold

By Patty Enrado
09:28 AM

At the HIMSS10 Interoperability Showcase, the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) exhibited 40 kiosks of 23 scenarios involving 60 organizations, increasing its presence times eight.

"This is a new era of collaboration and innovation," said Vish Sankaran, FHA program director. An ecosystem is being formed comprising federal and state agencies, providers, health information exchanges and vendors, he said.

Whereas last year was "the year of heavy lifting" – building out the infrastructure – this year is the enabling of health information exchange across private and public organizations, large and small entities, he said.

"We have moved beyond pilots and into the production phase," said Doug Fridsma, MD, acting director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards for the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The Veterans Administration, Dept. of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Social Security Administration and MedVirginia are all signatories to the Data Use and Reciprocal Support Agreement. With the policy and trust framework in place, ONC is expecting an uptick in the use of the Connect software and Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), Fridsma said.

"Once you've laid a lot of the foundation, you start to get critical mass for health information exchange," Fridsma said.

The demonstrations and scenarios include the National Disaster Medical System, which is using the NHIN as the underlying infrastructure to enable the creation of an electronic medical record that follows the patient from onsite treatment to evacuation site. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid demonstrated the simplification of Medicaid administration through collaboration, which involved the Community Health Information Collaborative, a Minnesota HIE.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and MedVirginia demonstrated the processing of claims with authorized release of information – a capability both entities had demonstrated last year. This year, 15 organizations are demonstrating the release of information from a personal health record, Microsoft HealthVault, over the NHIN to SSA.

The University of Virginia and the Federal Communications Commission have partnered to ensure that rural healthcare markets have the appropriate broadband capability to support health information exchange.

The Interoperability Showcase also included Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise demonstrations. "The end goal for all these organizations participating in the Interoperability Showcase is interoperability," Sankaran said. There are different methods, timelines and speed to market, but the bottom line, he said, is meeting that goal.

For FHA, Sankaran said, "Connect is a success."