The National Health Information Network Page
About the NHIN, World Privacy Forum testimony and Comments, NHIN resources, NHIN Timeline
What is the NHIN?
The National Health Information Network (NHIN) is an ambitious modernization plan proposed by the U.S. government. The idea is to move as an entire nation from paper medical files to electronic medical files that are shared. Specifically, the government goal is to digitize patients' health records and medical files and create a national network to place the information in. The network, called the NHIN, would be a sophisticated network that hospitals, insurers, doctors, and others could potentially access. Such a network brings patient privacy, security, and confidentiality issues into sharp relief.
As of spring 2009, the development of the network is well underway. The official beginnings of the NHIN trace back to April 2004 when President Bush signed an Executive Order mandating that most Americans should have electronic medical files, or electronic health records (EHRs) within ten years. This order created a new Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and also mandated the updating of the nation's medical information systems, including networked systems. It is the mandate for networked systems in particular that underlies the creation of the NHIN. The Obama administration stimulus bill infused a great deal of money into healthcare IT, which includes a variety of NHIN projects. The bill also included language that made the National Coordinator position more of a permanent feature in the government.
It will be important for all individuals to pay attention to these plans as they develop and to give input into how the medical and patient "information modernization" should be accomplished. It is the World Privacy Forum's goal to help ensure that Electronic Health Records, Personal Health Records, and the NHIN are built from the ground up with great attention to patient choice, privacy, security, and confidentiality. It is also the World Privacy Forum's goal that risks resulting from medical identity theft, which are significant, be mitigated and planned for in any NHIN.
It is useful to see how the NHIN is developing over time. The World Privacy Forum has created a timeline that traces the key developments in this nationwide project and helps give a quick visual mapping of events. In December of 2008, the NHIN became least a partial reality as the active NHIN trials gave their reports.
World Privacy Forum Documents about the NHIN
Other NHIN Resources
Other News about NHIN: (See also NHIN Timeline )
Most Recent NHIN News
Dec. 2008 public meeting to report on NHIN trials (HHS)
Sept. 2008 AHIC successor board named (AHIC)
Dec. 2007: 4th NHIN Conference (HHS)
Sept., 2007: AHIC transition, white paper. (HHS)
June 2007, HHS publishes its 113-page analysis of the NHIN prototypes (HHS)
January 2007, NHIN demonstrated live (HHS)
June 28 2006: first NHIN forum (HHS)
May 3 2006: WPF publishes first report analyzing NHIN in light of medical ID theft.
May 2006: New NHIN contracts announced HHS release
Nov. 10 2005: NHIN pilot projects approved (HHS)
November 2005 World Privacy Forum submits comments on retaining patient rights in light of the forthcoming NHIN. (Comments)
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