CONNECTing to Break the Barriers to Interoperable Healthcare

February 14, 2012

By Lauren Thompson, Director, Federal Health Architecture

HIMSS 2012 is almost here! This year, as in past years, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) have partnered with federal and state agencies and private sector health organizations to deliver a series of health IT interoperability demonstrations within the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase.

The demonstrations throughout the area are incredibly compelling and highlight the excellent work of federal and state agencies as well as private care organizations and public health facilities. I would encourage all of you attending to make it a priority to stop by the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase Hall G, Booth #11000, ONC/FHA Area).

In this blog, I’d like to highlight some of the demonstrations related to CONNECT and the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange. Visiting the following demonstrations will give you a sense of the progress and excitement surrounding the expansion of the Exchange as well as the role CONNECT is playing in support of these efforts.

The following demonstrations will highlight CONNECT and the Exchange:

Florida HIE Early Adopters Demonstrate CONNECT & Direct Standards
Florida HIE, Agency for Healthcare Administration, Strategic Health Intelligence, Florida Hospital -- Adventist

This use case demonstrates how two organizations connected to the Florida HIE can leverage both “pull” and “push” services to exchange health information securely across an array of provider systems to enhance the quality and efficiency of care given to patients.

Multi-HIO Interoperability Using New National Standards in California
Redwood MedNet, San Diego Beacon Community, East Kern County Information Technology Association (EKCITA)

Attendees will observe a clinical scenario utilizing NwHIN Exchange and Direct protocols to share clinical information about patient care, integrating clinical information from prior caregivers.

Emerging HIE Technologies to Provide Continuity of Care
USAMRMC Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC)

The U.S. Army and its partners will demonstrate emerging HIE technologies that provide continuity of care. The scenario will show how technologies facilitate continuous healthcare delivery from birth to enlistment through separation from active duty with a medical disability.

Consultation, Referral and Result Exchange through Direct Messaging
Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Information Partnership of Tennessee

This demonstration utilizes Direct Project constructs to enable secure messaging between the Department of Veterans Affairs and a private health information exchange network.

Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER)
Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and Kaiser Permanente

The VLER initiative, enabled by the NwHIN, enhances continuity of care for our service men and women by ensuring electronic records will transition along with them and remain with them forever.

Electronic Submission of Medical Documentation (esMD) to Medicare
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and CMS Health Information Handlers

esMD allows medical providers to send unstructured medical documentation (PDF) through a NwHIN Exchange gateway to selected Medicare review contractors looking for improper payments.

Authorized Release of Information to a Trusted Entity
Social Security Administration and Kaiser Permanente

The demonstration will show how the Social Security Administration requests information from Kaiser Permanente based on an authorization to release information, and receives the information using the NwHIN Exchange.

Open Source Behavioral Health Information Technology Architecture (OBHITA)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

This demonstration illustrates the benefits of the OBHITA, and its integration with CONNECT and Direct, to assist behavioral health providers as they improve outcomes and overall quality of care through seamless integration with primary care networks and statewide HIEs.

The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase will open at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21. For more information including a complete listing of hours, visit

See you in Las Vegas!

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