CONNECT, a U.S. Federal Health Architecture program to develop an open source software solution to link systems in federal healthcare organizations to the National Health Information Network (NHIN), was recently honoured with a 2010 Wall Street Journal Innovation Award.
NHIN is a set of standards, services and policies that enable secure health information exchange over the Internet and is key foundational element in the HITECH Act. NHIN provides a mechanism for individual eHealth systems and health information exchanges to connect with each other and transfer data using nationally recognized interoperability standards, specification, participation agreements, and policies.
Standards for NHIN are defined and several Federal agencies and healthcare organizations are already using NHIN technology to exchange information amongst themselves and their partners. To facilitate the use of NHIN by federal agencies that exchange health information a group of these agencies collaborated to develop an open source software solution called CONNECT. This software solution is available free of charge to any healthcare organization.
CONNECT demonstrates the power of collaboration. Rather than working on their own to connect their systems to NHIN, a group of federal government agencies pooled their resources and created one common solution that they all can share. Even better, they decided to take an open source approach and make CONNECT freely available to any other organization that needs to connect to NHIN.