HHS Taps Sun For Nationwide Health Information Network NHIN

April 7, 2009

Open source software from Sun Microsystems is enabling the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build a secure, open technology platform to connect federal government agencies and health information exchanges in a "network of networks"--the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN)--built over the Internet.

The goal of NHIN is to support the secure exchange of interoperable health information within the federal government and with the tribal, state, local and private sectors to enable increased efficiency, better patient care and improved population health.

"NHIN is a poster child for all of the benefits that open source software and open standards provide," said Bill Vass, president and COO of Sun Microsystems Federal, Inc. "The federal government has built a working prototype capable of being deployed across multiple agencies in a matter of months with minimal costs. The open nature of the IT foundation is critical to ensuring that government can work with the private healthcare sector to revolutionize the nation's healthcare system."

As a key member of the NHIN consortium, the federal government needed to build a comprehensive gateway to connect its 26 NHIN member agencies to the NHIN infrastructure, hence the name CONNECT. The HHS has a commitment to using open source technologies to ensure the CONNECT gateway can cost-effectively support the wide variety of operating systems used by the different agencies.

"Our progress with the NHIN shows that President Obama's commitment to healthcare reform can become a reality quickly. Here we have the public and private sectors working together as a community to help realize this key vision," said Joe Hartley, Vice President of Global Government, Education and Healthcare for Sun Microsystems." Sun has already seen first-hand the impact of open source technology on healthcare information sharing, and has enjoyed working closely with other vendor partners and federal agencies to make Obama's goals a reality today."

Sun's open source technology was selected as the backbone of the CONNECT gateway software. Among other Sun solutions, NHIN-CONNECT uses Sun's GlassFish open source application platform technology, the Java Composite Application Platform Suite (CAPS) SOA Platform, and the Sun Java Identity Management suite. Four major government agencies and 16 private sector organizations initially collaborated on the demonstration of NHIN-CONNECT. In only six months, these agencies were able to share information with the private sector through the NHIN. Six federal agencies will be participating in NHIN-CONNECT by the end of this year demonstrating the speed and cost-effectiveness of using open source technologies to achieve scalable electronic healthcare interoperability, compatibility and collaboration.

Once completed, the CONNECT software will be available for download by stakeholders throughout the health information exchange community. The goal is for CONNECT to be a platform on which government and industry can innovate. This will help empower federal agencies to address the citizen-centric initiatives that are part of the 2009 development plans and also allow the industry to build better interoperable solutions for the healthcare sector.

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