Regenstrief first to share public-health data via NHIN

Score another first for Indiana University's Regenstrief Institute. Thanks to the Indianapolis-based research organization, Indiana has become the first state in the nation to transmit electronic public-health data to federal authorities via the Nationwide Health Information Network.

Working on behalf of the Indiana State Department of Health, Regenstrief reports sending de-identified information on influenza, pneumonia and other flu-like illnesses from 76 emergency departments statewide and sent the information electronically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the NHIN, Regenstrief and the participating EDs can simultaneously share data with state officials and, as long as the Department of Health consents, the CDC.

The NHIN provides a secure framework to move data in local markets and across the country, according to Regenstrief, and the institution claims to be the only organization so far to use the NHIN to send surveillance data to the CDC.

"Public health data exchange over the Nationwide Health Information Network will improve disease detection and biosurveillance while safeguarding patients' personal information. It also enhances public health agencies' ability to electronically capture and exchange health care information with providers without new regulations or policies. I think this is a win-win for everyone," Regenstrief Institute program manager Brian E. Dixon says in a press release.

"Leading health informatics applications like the Nationwide Health Information Network can have significant positive impact on public health in Indiana by revolutionizing the way the State Department of Health and our partners, such as CDC and Regenstrief, share and report data," adds Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory N. Larkin. "Timely and efficient reporting of data is essential to the Indiana State Department of Health's disease surveillance and investigation."

For more information:
- read this CMIO article
- take a look at this Regenstrief press release