NHIN Direct is a project being developed by the Nationwide Health Information Network that aims to enable secure health information exchange (HIE) over the Internet for primary care physicians, specialists and public health agencies. (NHIN, in contrast, is intended for hospitals and other large health care providers.)
NHIN Direct itself will not be an HIE entity. Rather, the project’s stakeholders, who include providers, laboratories, hospitals, pharmacies and patients, intend to develop standards and service definitions, implementation guides, reference implementations and testing frameworks. These standards and policies are expected to be finished by the end of 2010, in time for providers to implement HIE as they progress toward the meaningful use of health information technology (HIT).