Officials Announce First Data-Sharing Software for NHIN Direct Project

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced the first version of the software that will make possible basic data exchange between health care providers -- a step that is critical to achieving Stage 1 rules of the meaningful use program, Government Health IT reports.

Health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments under the 2009 economic stimulus package.

Direct Project Details

The open-source software will be used in the Direct Project, a streamlined version of the Nationwide Health Information Network.

The Direct Project used to be referred to as NHIN Direct. ONC also is planning to rename NHIN, according to Government Health IT.

The Direct Project will allow health care providers to send secure messages containing patient information, such as patient referrals and care summaries. In these basic information exchanges, the sender and receiver usually know each other.

Arien Malec, coordinator of the Direct Project, said that the software will be tested in a series of pilot programs to gauge its real-world effectiveness. He added that the model will be available in Java and .Net formats.

In addition, Malec said providing patients with addresses on the Direct Project could allow health care providers to transmit data to their personal health records (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 11/30).

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