IBM gives national health network prototype tours
At HIMSS07 in New Orleans, IBM gave attendees a glimpse of the technology foundation it developed with partners for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The prototype is designed to enable secure access to healthcare data and real time information sharing and exchange of healthcare data among physicians, patients, hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies, regardless of location.   

The platform was developed under contract from HHS and is a standards-based system that uses a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to connect information, and allows for a secure nationwide healthcare information exchange across widely dispersed healthcare communities, IBM said.

The NHIN solution has been constructed as a future roadmap for accessing and exchanging pertinent health information between an assortment of healthcare entities.

IBM's NHIN prototype is currently operational at seven hospitals and 24 physician practices located in Research Triangle/Pinehurst, N.C.; Guilford and Rockingham Counties, N.C./ Danville, Va.; and  Mid-Hudson Valley, N.Y. 

Patrick Boyle, director of IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences for the Americas, said that in a recent introduction of the prototype in Washington, D.C., the reception was very positive partly because the platform is based on open standards. He also said that what is important now is for the industry to find business models that can sustain the life of such projects beyond the initial support and grant money used to first establish them.