Northrop Grumman demonstrates interoperability tool

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Northrop Grumman Corporation has demonstrated its prototype system for national health information exchange at the third Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Forum last week in Washington, D.C. The company's prototype has been designed to leverage and extend the functionality of existing local and regional health information networks, providing a common, scalable approach to national interoperability and information exchange, the company said.

Northrop Grumman's system connects national laboratory, pharmacy and public health systems with three different healthcare markets: the Santa Cruz regional health information organization (RHIO) in Calif.; the University Hospitals, an established RHIO organized around the academic community in the highly competitive Cleveland, Ohio, healthcare market; and Quality Health Network, a new exchange initiative in Mesa County, Colo.

The NHIN Forum, sponsored by Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, brought physician users from each region to demonstrate the Northrop Grumman system’s ability to improve quality of care and public health.

"We have combined our experience running the largest electronic health record system in the world, helping the Centers for Disease Control with biosurveillance, and Northrop Grumman's extensive large-scale systems integration expertise, to create a system that can have a huge impact on medical quality, efficiency and safety," said Michele Kang, vice president and general manager of Health Solutions for Northrop Grumman's IT sector.

The Northrop Grumman system includes two supporting services to promote adoption, including the "consent registry," a facility that allows a patient to control what information is exchanged and who may see their information. The second is real-time terminology translation, a mechanism to translate among many "competing" medical terminologies to bolster interoperability, the company said.

"This solution builds patient trust with unique privacy and security measures, while encouraging adoption by seamlessly integrating into physician office workflow," said Dr. Robert Cothren, Northrop Grumman's project executive for NHIN. "By providing the critical services and back-end connections, we have removed many of the technical barriers RHIOs face to connect with other systems and achieve maximum utility."

Northrop Grumman led a consortium under contract from HHS that includes the following technology partners: Axolotl, Mountain View, Calif.; First Consulting Group, Long Beach, Calif.; Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, Calif., RXHub, St. Paul, Minn.; and Sun Microsystems, Menlo Park, Calif.