The CONNECT "Community of Common Interest" Model

The CONNECT initiative is devoted to providing a common technology platform for all forms of health information exchange. This mission stipulates a wide range of requirements from public and private sector organizations, patients and care providers alike. These requirements are reflected in the diversity of organizations participating in the CONNECT community, and grows as the number of organizations involved in health information exchange grows.

To address these evolving needs, the CONNECT initiative has created a "Community of Common Interest" model for facilitating conversations and joint technology development among stakeholders aligned around a common interest. The inspiration for this is an open, joint development process like those that exist in open standards organizations like the IETF, and open content or software communities, like the Wikipedia or the Apache Software Foundation.

The Community of Common Interest model is all about collaboration among a self-defined and self-directed group of stakeholders. Participants in a workgroup agree to a common mission statement, and work publicly in partnership to create specifications and prototype an implementation in software.

With assistance from the CONNECT Project Management Office, the workgroup coordinates with the Nationwide Health Information Network Program Office on any required enhancements to the Nationwide Health Information Network standards. It also coordinates with the CONNECT Change Control Board if any changes need to be integrated with the main CONNECT Gateway. Once the needs are clearly identified in the form of a consensus specification, the workgroup commits to completing the work required for implementation and integration into the CONNECT platform.

The CONNECT Common Interest Workgroup model allows innovative new ideas in health information exchange to be quickly turned into common standards and widespread implementation.