ONC Requests Information on NwHIN

Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN)

Please Note: Public Comment Period Extended until Friday, June 29th

The Public Health Service Act Section 3001(c)(8) requires the National Coordinator to “establish a governance mechanism for the nationwide health information network.” The nationwide health information network is defined as a set of standards, services, and policies that enable secure health information exchange over the Internet. Now published in the Federal Register is the ONC’s Request for Information (RFI) which they are seeking public comments on the governance for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN).

The ONC announced the request stating these key components of the proposed governance approach for NwHIN to include:

  • a focus on entities that facilitate electronic health information exchange;
  • a set of conditions for trusted exchange (CTEs) in three areas: safeguards, interoperability, and business practices;
  • a voluntary validation process for entities to demonstrate conformance to the CTEs and to increase provider confidence that the exchange entities meet these requirements;
  • processes to regularly update and improve CTEs;
  • a process to classify the readiness of technical standards and implementation specifications to support interoperability CTEs; and
  • approaches for monitoring and transparent oversight

The three conditions for trusted exchange (CTE) further detailed:

  • Safeguards to focus on the protection of individually identifiable health information (IIHI) to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability and to prevent unauthorized or inappropriate access, use, or disclosure.
  • Interoperability to focus on the technical standards and implementation specifications needed for exchanging electronic health information.
  • Business Practices to focus on the operational and financial practices to which NVEs would need to adhere in support of trusted electronic health information exchange.

The public comment period will be 30 days beginning on May 15th.

I had the opportunity at HIMSS this year to speak to Dr. Doug Fridsma, Director Office of Standards and Interoperability and Acting Chief Scientist for the ONC. He spoke to me about the nationwide health information network. Listen to the interview.

View the presentation, Nationwide Health Information Network: Conditions for Trusted Exchange Request For Information (RFI). Presented by Steven Posnack, Director, Federal Policy Division for the ONC.