N.C. health IT alliance nets contract for NHIN trial implementation

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The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) trial implementation contract to the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance.

The purpose of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Authorized Release of Information to a Trusted Entity Use Case is to transform the current paper-based system into an electronically-enabled process for obtaining and using medical data in the disability determination process, according to NCHICA, a nonprofit healthcare IT consortium.

The consortium said the project has the potential to expedite the flow of benefits, helping to alleviate the economic burden to beneficiaries and their families and to increase the efficiency of both the SSA and provider organizations.

NCHICA said it is one of the nine organizations awarded a contract last year to participate in the second phase of NHIN project.

“This Use Case is particularly important to North Carolina because of the significant military population in our state,” said Holt Anderson, executive director of NCHICA. “Our goal is to focus on disability evaluations of veterans by the SSA and to ensure that our returning veterans are getting the help they need in a more timely manner.”

The NHIN trial implementations are designed to test the connectivity of disparate health information exchanges and to create the policies, procedures, business cases and collaborations necessary to support the exchanges, NCHICA said.

The nine participating organizations have each been assigned Use Cases which must be demonstrated later this year.

The NCHICA team includes the following healthcare providers: Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Morehead Memorial Hospital, Pinehurst Surgical Clinic and Southern Pines Women's Health Center. IBM is providing the hosted solution for NCHICA with assistance from Allscripts, CapMed PHR, eClinicalWorks, Greenway, LabCorp, MEDITECH, NextGen and NoMoreClipboard.