The Connecting for Health Initiative said it has successfully shared thousands of clinical case files between regional health organizations in three areas of the country. Boston's MA-SHARE, the Indiana Health Information Exchange and the Mendocino Health Records Exchange participated in the project. The decentralized system used by Connecting for Health relies on a Record Locater Service (RLS), rather than a unique patient identifier.
Organizers said the tests show that a decentralized and fully interoperable network is a realistic goal. NYU professor Clay Shirky, the project's technical lead comments that "the prototype demonstrates that completely different regional, local, and other health information networks can communicate with one another and exchange information, even if they operate on different technological platforms, use different registration systems, and organize patient data differently."
- see this release from Connecting for Health
Talking Points: For those without a technical background, the upshot is this: Shirky and his team have shown that it is possible to share records living on different networks and authored in different computer languages without using a centralized database.