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Medical Information Shared Machine-To-Machine

Check out John Halamka’s post on some of the excellent work one of the workgroups convened by the feds is doing. Here’s the complete quote:

Imagine if every EHR could send data to every other EHR using a simple addressing mechanism like email, a consistent REST implementation or a well described SOAP WSDL. Interoperability would follow rapidly because novel packages of data will be sent to support real business needs without any barriers of how to get the data from endpoint to endpoint.

The “addressing” part of the NHIN (Nationwide Health Information Network) Direct specifications is almost complete. The “implementation” workgroup is part of the fast moving NHIN Direct project which is developing lightweight standards for machine-to-machine communication of medical information. 

It’s part of the larger NHIN project, which is developing standards and services for exchange of health information across the Internet. The NHIN, in turn, was convened by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The NHIN Direct is exciting because of the pace of its accomplishments and because these protocols could conceivably be implemented by a new generation of web-based collaborative health tools and personal health records (PHR).

I personally love the idea of a doctor having his or her EHR “email” my visit record directly to my PHR or to the EHR of the physician to whom he or she is referring me.

In fact, Dr. Halamka has already anticipated this:

In previous blogs, I’ve described one way to solve the addressing problem — give every patient a voluntary opt in “Health URL” that they could use to receive all healthcare data from hospitals, offices, labs, and pharmacies.

This is an exciting time in health IT.

*This blog post was originally published at a few thoughts from a tumor surgeon*

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