Successful public demonstration of secure health exchange program

By Johnathan Warner
10:05 AM

On July 9th at Redwoord MedNet’s 4th Annual HIE Conference, the first publically stage multi-organization demonstration of Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Direct standards and technologies took place. The demonstration showed that healthcare providers can use electronic patient records to provide more effective care. The demonstration was powered by technology supplied by Mirth Corporation, a company which provides open source healthcare IT utility programs.

The demonstration included the transmission of secure and fictitious patient records between healthcare providers across three prominent Health Information Exchanges based in California. Real system and production code were used, as was Mirth’s utilities and NHIN direct standards. Narrating physicians also had “hands-on” participation in the process. The transmission of patient records was similar to secure email, using SMTP protocol.

“NHIN Direct as a project is designed to accelerate adoption of HIE services,” said Will Ross, Project Manager for Redwood MedNet, the organization that conceived and oversaw the NHIN Direct demonstration. “We produced the live demonstration of NHIN Direct at our conference in order to highlight how transformative health information exchange technology can be. Broad adoption and use of these tools is not a question of ‘if’ but rather is only a question of ‘when’ agile electronic exchange of patient data will become the dominant paradigm.”

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NHIN represents federally architected standards for health information exchange, including tools to allow healthcare organizations to efficiently exchange health information, such as the patient records used in the demonstration. NHIN Direct, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, is a companion project created to enable the secure transmission of relevant health information between providers.

Healthcare organizations that participated in the demonstration included Redwood MedNet Health Information Exchange, Western Health Information Network of Long Beach, CA; and Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz. Technology partners included Mirth Corporation, Harrios Corporation, Medplus, and Microsoft.

Sean Nolan, chief technology architect in Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, noted that “We were delighted to support this landmark demonstration and show that healthcare interoperability can be a reality today, thanks to technologies like Mirth and HealthVault.”

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