HHS awards contracts to test e-health records exchange

| February 15, 2008

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that contracts worth $22.5 million have been awarded to nine Health Information Exchanges to start trial implementations of a national network for exchanging electronic health information.

HHS last year disclosed plans to award the contracts, which it said would ensure that its Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) has a secure foundation.

The network will first allow health care providers to securely exchange basic health information, while adding that more complex capabilities will be tacked on over time, HHS said.

"These trial implementations are taking place in communities across America that are leading the way to health care transformation using secure, interoperable health information technology," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in a statement. "Trial implementations of the NHIN will bring us steps closer to a health IT system that will improve quality of care, increase efficiencies in health care and improve disease prevention."

The government has been aiming to use the NHIN to anchor its efforts to fulfill a 2004 mandate from President Bush that all Americans have an electronic health record by 2014.

The contracts were awarded to:

• CareSpark, in the Tricities region of Eastern Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia
• Delaware Health Information Network
• Indiana University in Indianapolis
• Long Beach Network for Health in Long Beach and Los Angeles
• Lovelace Clinic Foundation in New Mexico
• MedVirginia in Central Virginia
• New York eHealth Collaborative in New York
• North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance Inc. in North Carolina
• West Virginia Health Information Network in West Virginia

In December, the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to award contracts to further test and develop the exchange’s IT infrastructure. The results of the trials will be made public in September 2008.

Category: Electronic Medical Records

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