HHS tests exchanging personal medical data over Internet

Open-source project used volunteers to prepare data exchange standards

The Health and Human Services Department’s open-source Direct Project development program for secure health data exchange over the Internet has started operating in two states, Minnesota and Rhode Island, and will launch demonstration projects in six more states, officials have announced.

The Direct Project is an offshoot of HHS’ Nationwide Health Information Network, a set of protocols for secure health data exchange between federal health agencies. Direct Project started last year with HHS support to spur health data exchange among a larger group of participants. Earlier, a similar effort was known as the NHIN Direct project.

The goal of Direct Project is to develop an open-source, interoperable and easy-to-use tool to enable secure Internet transmission of sensitive health data, replacing mail and faxed transmissions. Volunteer developers from more than 60 organizations and companies came together in 2010 to write common standards and technical specifications for Direct Project.


Related story:

Winners and losers under the NHIN Direct project


HHS authorized pilot programs, and two are operational, according to a news release dated Feb. 2.

“This is an important milestone in our journey to achieve secure health information exchange, and it means that health care providers large and small will have an early option for electronic exchange of information supporting their most basic and frequently needed uses,” Dr. David Blumenthal, HHS’ national coordinator for health IT, said in the release.

If the pilot demonstrations are successful, the Direct Project technologies will be available across the country by 2012 to spur adoption of electronic health record systems by doctors and hospitals. The economic stimulus law of 2009 provided $20 billion for that effort.

Aneesh Chopra, the White House's chief technology officer, said Direct Project is an example of using stakeholders to create innovation.

“This is a new way of doing the public’s business, and it works,” Chopra said. “Instead of the traditional top-down approach, it calls on stakeholders to work together in a more open and fast-moving way to achieve results. It makes government a platform for innovation by those who really know the field.”

The next states to begin demonstrations are California, Connecticut, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.





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

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

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