Connect software will embed meaningful use

Chicago USA The updated version of the Connect software tool-set will make it easier for health care organizations to conduct transactions such as electronic prescribing and file sharing called for in the multi-billion-dollar health IT incentive plan, they said.

“In 2010, we will be working toward a release of the software that will have meaningful use features embedded in it,” said Vish Sakaran, program director of the Federal Health Architecture office, which led the development of Connect.

He made his remarks at an Oct. 30 briefing on the use of the Connect software, which is available for free to federal, state and local government and private healthcare providers.

The Connect tools enable health organizations to share information using standards designed to forge a nationwide health information network (NHIN). “The goal is to create a platform for participation in health information exchange and meaningful use so that those who want to innovate have a (way) of handling that,” said Dave Riley, technical lead for Connect.

By 2011, providers participating in the health IT incentive program should be able to transmit prescriptions to a pharmacy from an electronic health record as well as receive lab results, according to recommendations from the Health IT Policy Committee. Connect is one of the approaches to accomplish that exchange, Riley said.

The Connect program has also added software tools that can users integrate older systems or transfer functionality from an existing system to a new system, Riley said.

Next year, Connect should also have requirements built-in for states to conform to the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA), the technology and business roadmap Medicaid system modernization, according to Sankaran.

The Connect team is also developing a bridge with the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) network to expand the exchange of research information through the NHIN, he said.