Brailer's office releases RFI on National Health Information Network

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) on Monday released a request for information (RFI) that calls on the healthcare industry to provide input to the government on how to develop and face the interoperability challenges of a National Health Information Network (NHIN).

Through the RFI, ONCHIT said it seeks information regarding options to deploy, operate and sustain health information exchange. Widespread deployment of EHRs (electronic health records), for example, spark a variety of challenges and barriers such interoperability, or the ability to exchange patient health information among disparate clinicians and other authorized entities in real time and under stringent security, privacy and other protections.

The organization encourages health IT organizations, healthcare providers, industry associations and other stakeholders to participate in the forum.

Responses to the RFI are due by Jan. 18, 2005. The RFI is available through ONCHIT's website, www.hhs.gov/healthit/. ONCHIT said it will host a technical assistance call on Dec. 6 to answer questions from potential responders.

The Office of the National Coordinator has set up an email address for inquiries on the RFI at NHINRFI@hhs.gov.  The inquiries will be posted as part of a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page on the ONCHIT website.  

The Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) responded by seeking guidance from their committees, task forces, and members. HIMSS said responses are due on January 18 and created an online tool to facilitate the process.

In addition, HIMSS said input from our Integration and Interoperability Steering Committee, Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) Task Force, and members are key to HIMSS RFI response. Organizations interested in collaborating with HIMSS on a response should contact Tom Leary, HIMSS Director of Federal Affairs, at tleary@himss.org or 703-299-9712.