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Consortia to build model e-health systems in 12 regions

Article

Washington--The campaign to establish an electronic health information system took an important step forward last month when HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt awarded contracts to four groups to test various approaches for establishing Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) architecture. These consortia of technology developers and local e-health organizations will build model systems for health information exchange in 12 regions around the country. The aim is to permit physicians, clinics, hospitals, health plans and medical research institutions to access patient health information; the networks also will support efforts to monitor and respond to health emergencies such as epidemics and bioterrorist attacks.

WASHINGTONThe campaign to establish an electronic health information system took an important step forward last month when HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt awarded contracts to four groups to test various approaches for establishing Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) architecture. These consortia of technology developers and local e-health organizations will build model systems for health information exchange in 12 regions around the country. The aim is to permit physicians, clinics, hospitals, health plans and medical research institutions to access patient health information; the networks also will support efforts to monitor and respond to health emergencies such as epidemics and bioterrorist attacks.

Over the next year, each of the consortia led by a major information technology organization will establish prototype systems in three healthcare markets:

Each group has several partners that are technology developers and regional health networks and is expected to invest much more than the government's $18.6 million seed money in building prototype networks. The systems will test patient identifiers, user authentication, and access control. The consortia are expected to share ideas and information with each other and the public, and the architecture design for each of the networks will be placed in the public domain to encourage further development of these systems.

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