Friday, November 19, 2010

Cool Technology of the Week

Today's Cool Technology is more about a trend than a mature product.

In the past few weeks, my email box has been filling up with large organizations announcing new functionality to connect payers, providers, patients, public health, and analytics organizations.

Quest/MedPlus announced its Centergy Data Exchange

Verizon announced its Healthcare Information Exchange and Identity Management products.

AT&T - Announced a suite of healthcare services and the American Hospital Association endorsed AT&T's Healthcare Information Exchange solutions.

Surescripts announced its plans to support clinical information exchange using NHIN Direct implementation guides.

Intersystems announced a contract to implement its HIE solution for the US Army's Implementation of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER)

On November 30, the HIT Standards Committee will seek testimony about emerging commercial HIE solutions.   We want to know more about the standards used for secure point-to-point transport of health data between provider organizations.   Typical approaches include:

1)      A means of authenticating end points (and managing end-point identities and certificates)

2)      An encryption solution

3)      A means of assuring that data are not modified in transit

4)      A messaging protocol (e.g., SMTP, SOAP, REST), and

5)      A means of confirming the receipt of messages

As the Committee evaluates NHIN Direct and harmonizes standards to inform future regulatory activity, it would benefit from hearing a summary of the standards chosen to fulfill these needs.   The Committee is interested in knowing the approaches to the above, as well as answers to questions such as:

-What factors affected decisions to implement point to point messaging as you did?  Would you make the same decision if you were designing it today?

-What do you consider essential requirements for simple, point to point exchanges between two provider organizations?

-Do you exchange information with any federal organizations using the NHIN CONNECT gateway?  If so, how is that accomplished?

We'll learn what is real technology and what is in the "powerpoint" stage.    I'm hoping we'll hear about real, deployed, standards-based infrastructure to support all the stakeholders in healthcare.      With the right policies and infrastructure, we'll achieve the vision of connected healthcare we need to reach accountable care organization nirvana.   That's cool.
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