NSTIC to fund up to $1M for new data sharing pilot

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) has announced a grant opportunity of $750,000 to $1 million for a healthcare organization that can simplify online access across multiple platforms using one trusted credential.

The grant application, called the Federated Identity in Healthcare Pilot Program, is looking for demonstrative usage of federated online identity solutions for patients and providers across multiple healthcare providers, such as hospital systems, provider groups and regional healthcare systems. Applicants must, among other things, be hospitals or health care systems constituting of multiple facilities, such as clinics, hospitals, and ambulatory sites and must partner with an independent healthcare organization in the region that uses a separate electronic health record but has some provider overlap, such as physician practice groups.

In a related blog post, NSTIC's Mike Garcia explains that the pilot is focused on streamlining patients' and providers' access to health information from different organizations online.  The pilot solutions would allow access to health information through means that are "privacy-enhancing, secure and resilient, interoperable, and cost-effective and easy-to-use."

"For this funding opportunity, we're looking to solve this problem through deployment of federated identity credentials in healthcare. Using the same credential across multiple healthcare providers can make life easier for users by simplifying and speeding up sign-in processes. For providers, making strides in the efficiency of accessing medical records means time and money saved--and, if done right, better outcomes for security and privacy," Garcia writes.

The pilot needs to, among other things, have at least two hospitals or healthcare systems access a federated, verified identity that leverages multi-factor authentication and an effective identity proofing process, allow for interoperability with other identity federations in the healthcare sector (and other sectors where possible) and collect metrics and other information about the implementation of the federated credential solution that can contribute to a best practice guidance document.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will help review the applications and provide technical support. The closing date for applications is June 1.

The current lack of interoperability among different EHR systems has long been a concern. Different initiatives are attempting to deal with the problem; a number of vendors and providers pledged in February to improve data exchange using a single shared standard.

To learn more:
- read the grant opportunity
- here's the blog post