ONC, NIST partner on $1 million initiative to fuel federated identity and health data privacy

The agencies are looking for ways to use a single credential for accessing health records across multiple providers. The identity solution must enhance privacy and security, be interoperable and cost-effective, officials say.
By Bernie Monegain
09:46 AM

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is putting up $1million to find a new approach for patients and providers to access health records in a joint endeavor with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Instead of piling up individual accounts for each provider a patient sees – dentist, specialist, primary care, in the doctor’s office or in the hospital – NIST and ONC are looking for ways to streamline the entire process by enabling a single credential across multiple providers, officials said.

“For providers, making strides in the efficiency of accessing medical records means time and money saved – and, if done right, better outcomes for security and privacy – what NIST calls a “Federated Identity,’” NIST deputy director Michael Garcia wrote in a blog announcing the pilot.

ONC, for its part, will participate in the review of applications and also provide technical support regarding implementation and operation of the pilot.

“The goal is for hospital systems to work with other regional health systems and provider groups on developing and using a federated identity system,” Garcia explained. “The identity solution must be: privacy enhancing and voluntary; secure and resilient; interoperable; cost effective and easy to use.”

NIST said it will fund one award between $750,000 and $1 million for eighteen months Applications can be submitted at Grants.gov until the June 1, 2016 deadline.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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