Sun Targets Growing Healthcare Sector

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Creating a more efficient and secure way to exchange such medical information will lead to better patient treatment and improved public health, supporters say

Sun Microsystems is partnering with the US federal government to help create a secure technology platform to connect health agencies and private heath institutions into the National Health Information Network.

The goal of the NIHN, which has been under development for almost two years, is to offer a secure and efficient way to exchange health information over the Web between federal agencies, private institutions and local, state and tribal health groups. Supporters say the network should improve patient care and population health.

At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference in Chicago this week, Sun announced that a host of its open-source software is being used by the federal government for the gateway that will connect the 26 member agencies of the NIHN to the network’s infrastructure. It’s been dubbed the Connect gateway.

Among Sun’s open-source technology being used to build the Connect gateway are GlassFish application platform, Java Composite Application Platform Suite SOA (service-oriented architecture) Platform, and the Java Identity Management suite.

During an initial demonstration of NHIN-Connect, four government agencies and 16 private sector organizations were able to share information with the private sector through the NHIN. Six federal agencies will participate in the gateway demonstration by the end of 2009.

The first request for proposals for trial implementations for the NHIN went out in June 2007, and the first contracts were awarded by the federal Office of the National Coordinator to nine health information exchanges for trial implementations in September 2007, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Most recently, in December 2008, the government and partnering agencies demonstrated the NHIN at a conference in Washington D.C. The NHIN is scheduled to come online later this year, with organizations exchanging live information over the network.

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