IBM provides prototype for national health network
IBM has unveiled its technology foundation for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), 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 IBM technology platform was developed under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The standards-based system that utilizes a service oriented architecture (SOA) to connect information, allows for a secure nationwide healthcare information exchange across widely dispersed healthcare communities, IBM said.

The company also said that the NHIN solution has been constructed as a future roadmap for insurance companies, governmental regulatory agencies and other healthcare-related organizations and researchers to have the ability to access and exchange pertinent health information.

IBM's NHIN prototype is currently installed and operational in three healthcare marketplaces which allows seven hospitals and 24 physicians located in Research Triangle/Pinehurst, N.C.; Guilford and Rockingham Counties, N.C./ Danville, Va.; and  Mid-Hudson Valley, N.Y. to securely access and exchange medical and personal health data, regardless of underlying applications and locations of data. 

Participating hospitals within the respective regions include Duke University Health System, FirstHealth of the Carolinas;  Morehead Memorial Hospital, Moses Cone Health System; and Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Kingston Hospital and St. Francis Hospital.

IBM worked with a variety of business partners during development of the NHIN Prototype Architecture who contributed specific applications and technology around key components including:
  • In order to help accurately match and identify patient records across communities and scale to handle large quantities of patient data in the NHIN,  IBM worked with Initiate Systems and its Identity Hub software;
  • McKesson HorizonWP Physician Portal; Allscripts Touchworks; HealthVision, GE Healthcare Centricity; MEDITECH; and Duke University's Clinical Data Repository were used in the EMR component of the NHIN;
  • IBM worked with CapMed, a Division of Bio-Imaging Technologies, who designed a personal health management system;
  • IBM teamed with SureScripts and its Electronic Prescribing Network to link electronic communications between pharmacies and physicians to enable the secure exchange of prescription information; and
  • IBM worked with CTIS to host the prototype environments for some of the healthcare marketplaces and to provide managed services. 
IBM will demonstrate its prototype NHIN Architecture during The Third Nationwide Health Information Network forum to be held Jan. 25-26 in Washington D.C.