On Monday, the federal government made available for download and public use the software code that will connect organizations to the Nationwide Health Information Network, Modern Healthcare reports.
The no-cost, open-source software, called Connect, was developed under the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Federal Health Architecture initiative (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/8).
In February, the Social Security Administration became the first federal agency to use the software when it began sharing data with MedVirginia, a health information exchange. Several other federal agencies now are using Connect for health information exchange, including CDC, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Now, any public or private sector group can use Connect to access open versions of NHIN services, including:
- Patient identification;
- Document query and retrieval;
- A messaging platform; and
- An authorization framework.
In addition to the gateway, Connect includes an "enterprise service component" that offers default versions of enterprise systems required to support health information exchange, such as a Master Patient Index, a document registry engine and an audit log for patient data privacy controls.
Groups that decide to use the open-source software will be expected to cover the costs associated with installation and maintenance, according to ONC officials.
National Coordinator for Health IT Robert Kolodner said the "software will strengthen our health systems' ability to share data electronically" (McCloskey, Government Health IT, 4/7).