IBM announces information exchange prototype
IBM this week unveiled its plan to design a prototype medical information exchange system to speed up the development of a nation health network. IBM will work with leaders in the healthcare field to test and develop a standards-based, interoperable system, the company said.

IBM has dubbed the system Interoperable Health Information Infrastructure (IHII) which is being designed to enable the sharing of information between hospitals, agencies and patients. The system will replicate the type of connections that would be necessary on a national and international scale. The connected institutions will be located in San Jose, Calif., Rochester, Minn. and Haifa, Israel.

Among the key benefits of the planned systems, such as improved efficiency, cost reduction, and safety, IBM claims that the IHII will also increase the ability of public health officials to evaluate emerging health trends.

The system has built-in tools that will facilitate data exchange and evaluation of health trends, such as IBM's Healthcare Collaborative Network technology for electronic document exchange and messaging, as well as a new tool called Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) for studying emerging infectious diseases, IBM said.

The IHII pilot is planned for full operation by year's end.