Performance Improvement 2008. How Build a Nationwide Health Information Network?


This study examined the success of four contracts designed to develop prototype architectures for a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), a "network of networks," for electronic exchange of health information. An interoperable health information technology depends on progress toward architectures that securely connect consumers, providers and others who have or use health-related data services and that protect health information confidentiality.

The NHIN will use shared architecture (services, standards and requirements), processes and procedures to interconnect health information exchanges and the users they support. Each of the four contractors was asked to interconnect three communities to demonstrate its prototype architecture. The contracts each:

  • Operated the NHIN as a network of networks without a central database or services;
  • Assured critical common standards, particularly in the way that component exchanges interact with each other;
  • Achieved synergies and important capabilities by supporting consumers and health care providers on the same infrastructure;
  • Implemented consumer controls to manage how a consumer´s information is shared on the network; and
  • Benefited from an evolutionary approach that does not dictate wholesale replacement or modification of existing healthcare information systems.

Features of the synthesis of approaches of the four prototypes included core services related to data, consumer preferences, identity management for providers and consumers, and security and system management.

Report Title: Summary of the NHIN Prototype Architecture Contracts: A Report for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT; Sponsor: OS-ONC, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Federal Contact:
Kathleen Fyffe, 202-205-0670
Performer: Gartner

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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