ONCHIT awards $600K for NHIN demonstration project
Six health systems and health information exchanges (HIEs) have received grants from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) for participation in the development of a nationwide health information network (NHIN).

According to Government Health IT, the organizations, which together will receive about $600,000, join more than a dozen other health organizations in the trial implementation phase of NHIN, which is scheduled to demonstrate live exchange of health records on Sept. 28.

The demonstration in September will use mock health records due to concerns about accidental releases of information. The organizations will demonstrate services for patient look-up and information retrieval; secure information routing and delivery; providing data for population health uses; and consumer-managed access to appropriate information.

In the meantime, “we need to do very detailed technical testing to make sure this works,” said John Loonsk, MD, director of ONCHIT’s Office of Interoperability and Standards.

For the remainder of 2008, ONCHIT said it will be devoted to preparations for exchange of actual records for use in healthcare in 2009.

The six organizations which won the cooperative agreements from ONCHIT are:
  • HealthLINC/Bloomington Hospital, an e-health collaborative that serves a 10-county area in South-Central Indiana;
  • Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, a medical system with 5.3 million patients across 10 Cleveland-area hospitals, 13 clinics in the same region and a hospital in Florida;
  • The Community Health Information Collaborative, a partnership among hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, tribal health facilities, higher education and public health departments in a rural, 18-county region of Minnesota;
  • HealthBridge of Cincinnati, Ohio, which connects 24 hospitals and health systems, 17 local health departments, two national and multiple local laboratories, radiology and diagnostic centers, doctors’ offices, community health centers and nursing homes;
  • Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest private integrated healthcare delivery organization, with more than 8.7 million members in 10 states and the District of Columbia; and
  • Wright State University/HealthLink regional health information organization, in West-Central Ohio, which links hospitals, providers, Medicaid-managed care, labs, state and local public health services, public schools, social services and safety net providers.