HHS panel considers authentication standards for NHIN

It could be a central process or go commercial, workgroup says

The Health and Human Services Department should decide whether to set up its own system to authenticate identities for national health data exchange, or to leverage commercial systems for that purpose, according to members of a federal advisory workgroup that met today.

The Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) workgroup is preparing to make recommendations to HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology this month. The NHIN is the federal government’s existing set of protocols and systems for conducting secure health data exchange.

The workgroup is considering “what can be done today to accelerate information exchange under a variety of scenarios,” said David Lansky, its chairman, who also is president of the Pacific Business Group on Health.

Authentication and identity-proofing schemes are needed for providers, including individuals and systems, such as doctors, practices and hospitals, as well as for consumers, panelists said.

One option discussed is for HHS to establish its own provider authentication process, possibly piggybacking on the Veterans Affairs Department’s efforts in that area because the VA has a nationwide network of physicians. Another possibility is to use identity proofing and authentication programs available commercially, workgroup members said.

The group also recently considered the need for the NHIN to establish a national provider directory that is complete and up-to-date for the purposes of information exchange.

HHS created the NHIN as a demonstration project for exchanging health data between federal agencies and other organizations. HHS has not named the NHIN as the official entity that will handle data exchange for the purpose of meeting the meaningful use and certification requirements of the economic stimulus law.

On Dec. 30, HHS released proposed regulations for meaningful use and certification of electronic health records systems, which include the requirement that those systems be capable of engaging in health data exchange. The federal government is distributing at least $17 billion in payments to doctors and hospitals that buy and "meaningfully use" the systems.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Thu, Jan 7, 2010 Brian Ahier The Dalles, Oregon

I have posted the rough draft transcript and meeting materials from this meeting: http://ahier.blogspot.com/2010/01/n DOT hin-workgroup-meeting.html

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group