The Office for the National Coordinator has mapped out a plan to make the federally supported Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange a not-for-profit organization, says Mariann Yeager, interim executive director at the NwHIN Exchange.

The Exchange Coordinating Committee, which governs the effort, plans to transition the Exchange to a not-for-profit in September. Exchange partners are developing a plan for financial sustainability, likely a set of tier-based participation fees and possibly other service fees. The plan is to wean the partnership off government funding by October 2013, she says.  

“The federal government plans to support the project until it reaches a critical mass, but then it will rely on its own revenue model,” says Yeager, who met with Health Data Management during the HIMSS12 conference in Las Vegas.

In addition, the Exchange will designate a testing authority to ensure that technology solution providers wanting to join the partnership have “Exchange-ready” technology.

The Exchange is a group of health care stakeholders that have put the standards, services and policies developed for the National Health Information Exchange (NHIN) into production. Components of the Exchange include sharing infrastructure components such as digital certificates and registries, and adoption of a data use and reciprocal support agreement. The exchange encompasses more than 500 hospitals and a total of 30,000 users, which have more than 1 million “shared” patients.

Exchange partners are a mix of providers, government agencies and HIT vendors. Members include Kaiser Permanente, Marshfield Clinic, the Department of Defense, Epic Systems, SAIC, the Social Security Administration and Axolotl, among others. About 15 organizations are in the process of joining. The ONC in January dropped a requirement that prospective Exchange members must have contracted work with the federal government to join the program.

 

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