Open-source Connect toolkit to embed meaningful use, HHS says

HHS will update its Connect open-source interoperability toolkit to embed features that will help users achieve meaningful use of EMRs, a federal official says. The 2010 release of Connect also is expected to include functionality for states to conform to the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA), the plan for modernizing Medicaid information systems, according to Vish Sakaran, program director of the Federal Health Architecture in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Connect, Sakaran said is meant to reduce healthcare costs, raise quality and increase access to care. "The idea is not to create a large database," Sankaran said during a recent briefing about building the Nationwide Healthcare Information Network. "It is to create a connected, secure technology."

Added Connect technical lead Dave Riley, "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." Riley also said that the freely available software should be able to help providers transmit electronic prescriptions to pharmacies and to receive lab results, two components likely to be part of meaningful use when HHS finalizes the 2011 rules next spring. 

On the research side, the Connect team is building an interface to the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG).

For more about Connect:
- check out this Government Health IT story
- read this report from CMIO