NwHIN Moving to Public-Private Model

Transformation of NwHIN by Fall of 2012

The ONC has defined the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) as “the set of standards, services and policies that enable secure health information exchange over the Internet”. Currently with a million shared records in our healthcare system the initiative is positive, moving beyond a pilot phase. The interim Executive Director of NwHIN Exchange, Mariann Yeager, announced the intentions of the project’s future. By this fall the ONC’s Exchange Coordinating Committee plans to transform the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange (NwHIN) into a not-for-profit organization. Additional federal financial support is expected to end by October of 2013.

The NwHIN is comprised of all the entities that have put the standards, services, and polices in use. These would include sharing digital certificates, registries, and data use. The partners will include government agencies, providers, hospitals, and vendors. The four agencies involved are CMS, Department of Defense (DoD), Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Veterans Administration (VA).

To get more detail on this transition, read NwHIN Exchange set to ‘stand on its own’ this October, in Government Health IT by Tom Sullivan. In his article he quotes Lauren Thompson, director of the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) within ONC as saying “We’re really at a game-changing point in time as the exchange moves into a public-private model with potentially significant expansion, opening up more broadly to the community, engaging the community in development of some solutions going forward. Because of the very deliberate approach that’s been taken up to this point we feel very strongly that the exchange is now well-poised to move to this new public-private model and stand from there.”

You can also listen to my interview with Dr. Doug Fridsma of the ONC on the NwHIN and health exchange from HIMSS 2012 conference.