National Health Information Network - NHIN

(also Nationwide Health Information Network)


The Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) is the critical portion of the health IT agenda intended to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare. The NHIN will enable health information to follow the consumer, be available for clinical decision making, and support appropriate use of healthcare information beyond direct patient care so as to improve health.


  • Developing capabilities for standards-based, secure data exchange nationally
  • Improving the coordination of care information among hospitals, laboratories, physicians offices, pharmacies, and other providers
  • Ensuring appropriate information is available at the time and place of care
  • Ensuring that consumers’ health information is secure and confidential
  • Giving consumers new capabilities for managing and controlling their personal health records as well as providing access to their health information from EHRs and other sources
  • Reducing risks from medical errors and supporting the delivery of appropriate, evidence-based medical care
  • Lowering healthcare costs resulting from inefficiencies, medical errors, and incomplete patient information
  • Promoting a more effective marketplace, greater competition, and increased choice through accessibility to accurate information on healthcare costs, quality, and outcomes

The Office of the National Coordinator is advancing the NHIN as a ‘network of networks,” built out of state and regional health information exchanges (HIEs) and other networks so as to support the exchange of health information by connecting these networks and the systems they, in turn, connect.
In its first year, the NHIN established four consortia to design and evaluate standards-based prototype architectures for the NHIN. These prototypes demonstrated the advancement of:
  • Capabilities to find and retrieve healthcare information inside of health information exchanges and between health information exchanges
  • The delivery of new data to appropriate recipients
  • Key consumer services such as control over who can access a personal health record, data searching, ability to choose not to use a network service
  • User identity proofing, authentication and authorization
  • Methods for match patients to their data without a national patient identifier
  • Access control and other security protections
  • Specialized network functions
  • The feasibility of large-scale deployment

In addition to the prototype architectures, other significant accomplishments from the first year of the NHIN included:
  • Public input from three NHIN public fora
  • The initial set of initial NHIN functional requirements published by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS)
  • Needed data and technical standards
  • Security and business models
  • Harmonized standards from the Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP)
  • Privacy and security recommendations from the NCVHS and the Confidentiality, Privacy, and Security working group of the American Health Information Community (AHIC)
  • Core services and capabilities for Nationwide Health Information Network Health Information Exchanges (NHIE)

The second year of the NHIN will focus on trial implementations through state and regional health information exchanges. The products of the first years work will provide guidance for these trial implementations.

Web Sources:

Official Website:
Federal Health Architecture (FHA):
Prototype Architectures:
Initial Functional Requirements for an NHIN:
Wikipedia - NHIN:

Related Terminology:

Health Information Exchange (HIE)
American Health Information Community (AHIC)
Prototype Architectures


Wikipedia - NHIN:
Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN):


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