HIMSS and Internet2 collaborate to create an advanced and interoperable medical network

Chicago 01 August 2006The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Internet2 have created a partnership to explore the development of a secure, reliable and advanced networking solution for the transmission of medical information, messages and images throughout the broad health care industry. The two organisations are exploring a new network designed to offer the health sciences and health care sectors a private and secure medium for exchanging health information. A next-generation architecture built to meet federal regulatory requirements, this new network may also have value to offer in the work of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

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This ground-breaking collaboration is a natural extension for both not-for-profit organisations. Through a membership of 20.000 individuals, 45 chapters, and more than 300 corporations representing millions of employees, the HIMSS mission focuses on the betterment of health care through the most effective use of information technology and management systems. Internet2, the United States' advanced networking consortium led by 208 United States university members in partnership with over 100 industry and government members, works to develop and deploy advanced networks, applications and resources.

"HIMSS and our members look forward to this collaboration with Internet2", stated H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO. "The synergies between HIMSS and Internet2 brought our organisations together to consider and evaluate the feasibility of establishing a network that would meet the evolving needs of the biomedical and health care delivery community."

Since 1999, Internet2 has operated an advanced nationwide network that supports leading-edge Internet technology development for the research and academic community. Internet2 recently announced a major upgrade to this network to provide members 10 times the capacity and speed of its current infrastructure. In addition, the Internet2 community has successfully developed important middleware technologies to address critical issues in authentication and authorization in order to enable active privacy management. Through this partnership, HIMSS and the Internet2 community will work closely together to leverage these leading-edge technologies to explore development of brand new capabilities that meet the specific security and privacy needs of the health care industry.

"The research and education community has long understood the potential for leveraging advanced Internet technology to enhance the health care industry's ability to serve the public's needs, to improve the flow of information for research, to streamline care processes and to enable cost savings", stated Douglas Van Houweling, Internet2 president and CEO. "Our partnership with the HIMSS community is a major step forward in realizing this vision. Together we will work to create a new state-of-the-art platform for biomedical research, education and clinical practice on a national scale."

Through the partnership, four working groups have been established to explore the requirements and capabilities needed to create an advanced medical network during the next year. HIMSS and Internet2 will join each other's organisations. Members of both organisations will also join each of the four working groups, which include:

  • Identity Management that will allow the identification and authentication of individuals regardless of their physical location.
  • Privacy & Security that will focus on the tools and techniques that will assure the privacy and security of the information that travels on the network.
  • Biomedical - Health Sciences and Health Care - Education that will focus on meeting the unique needs and accessing the resources required for biomedical education.
  • Telehealth that will focus on the implications for clinical practice when a reliable advanced network is available.

In addition, members of both organisations will work for the development and implementation of the network with other partnerships and collaborations, including Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE).

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the health care industry's membership organisation exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimal use of health care information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of health care. Founded in 1961 with offices in Chicago, Washington D.C., and other locations across the country, HIMSS represents more than 20.000 individual members and over 300 corporate members that collectively represent organisations employing millions of people. HIMSS frames and leads health care public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational and professional development initiatives designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to ensuring quality patient care.

Led by more than 200 United States universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 facilitates the kinds of dynamic partnerships among academia, industry, and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy.


Leslie Versweyveld

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