NwHIN Exchange Completes Transition to eHealth Exchange

Healtheway Assumes Operations of eHealth Exchange

The Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange, which was formerly known as the NHIN Cooperative, is a group of stakeholders and integrated delivery networks that are collaborating to securely exchange health information electronically. The group includes federal agencies, local, regional and state-level Health Information Exchange Organizations (HIOs) and private organizations. And today the organizations are demonstrating actual health information exchange using the standards and policies adopted by the NwHIN. Since 2007 the ONC has been operating the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange under a department program. Recently the ONC announced they would be transitioning to a public-private partnership to foster continued growth and create a sustainable business model. There goal was to transition by October.

On Wednesday, October 10th, ONC announced the successful transition of the NwHIN Exchange to eHealth Exchange. The eHealth Exchange is made up of federal agencies and private partners that have implemented nationwide health information network standards and services and executed the Data Use and Reciprocal Support Agreement (DURSA), a legal agreement, in order to securely exchange electronic health information. Participating organizations in eHealth Exchange mutually agree to support these common set of standards and specifications.

Overseeing the eHealth Exchange and defined in the DURSA is the Exchange Coordinating Committee. The committee designated Healtheway, a nonprofit organization, to assume operational support of eHealth Exchange and was effective October 1st, 2012. Healtheway will support eHealth Exchange with “conformance and interoperability testing, onboarding of new participants in eHealth Exchange, and maintenance of the DURSA, operating policies and procedures, the service registry and digital certificates”.

In an email announcement from the ONC they stated they will continue to:

  1. Establish the national standards that promote interoperable health information exchange. This transition to a public/private partnership reflects ONC’s strategy to be an “incubator” for innovation and its focus on supporting a sustainable ecosystem of organizations that have found secure and scalable ways to exchange health information – all of which ultimately enhance patient care.
  2. work closely with organizations like Direct Trust and Healtheway to ensure the development of secure, effective and cost-efficient health information exchange standards, services and policies, and provide guidance for their implementation.