The American Academy of Family Physicians recently sent a letter to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT recommending that the Nationwide Health Information Network governance focus on using Direct Project protocols to securely exchange health data, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 7/10).
NwHIN is a national health IT infrastructure that aims to help health care providers exchange data (iHealthBeat, 7/5). The Direct Project is a streamlined version of NwHIN that aims to facilitate online, standards-based exchange of medical data between health care providers (iHealthBeat, 7/10).
In May, ONC issued a request for information on the creation of a NwHIN governance structure. According to an ONC presentation, the NwHIN governance mechanism will include rules on technical, business practice, privacy and security requirements to establish a common trust framework for the exchange (iHealthBeat, 7/5).
In its comment letter, AAFP wrote that using Direct Project protocols in a "worry free" environment would be a major breakthrough for interoperable data exchange. The group outlined three conditions that it said would be necessary to ensure the optimal use of the protocols:
- Integration of the Direct Project standards with certified electronic health record systems;
- Establishment and maintenance of a security and trust framework; and
- Predictability in the health IT market (Health Data Management, 7/10).