National health net RFP on track

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Efforts to get the next phase of the National Health Information Network (NHIN) underway are falling into place, and regional health information organizations (RHIOs) and statewide health information exchanges (HIEs) will be central players in that process, said John Loonsk, director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards at the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT).

The Gartner Group will release a report by mid-May that will provide analysis of NHIN’s prototype architectures and spell out a group of core services identified by ONCHIT’s  American Community Information Committee.

That information will be incorporated into the request for proposal for the NHIN trial implementation, which Loonsk expects seven to 10 contracts to be awarded, with RHIOs and HIEs taking the lead role on teams that bid for the project. Loonsk also thinks that HIEs will play a key role in the recent initiative announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to create “value exchanges” that would use nationally recognized standards of care to assess the performance of local healthcare providers.