CIO Executive Council Advises Strategy for Rollout of National Health Information Network

FRAMINGHAM, MA – January 19, 2005 – The CIO Executive CouncilTM, a professional organization representing more than 200 chief information officers (CIOs) at leading U.S. companies (founded by IDG's CXO Media and CIO magazine), is asking the federal government to play a key but limited role in the development of a National Health Information Network (NHIN). If created, the secure NHIN would house individuals' medical records in a central database accessible electronically by the medical community for improved patient care. Jeff Balagna, CIO of Medtronic and advisory board member of the CIO Executive Council, and John Hummel, senior vice president and CIO of the Sutter Health network of hospitals and doctors and chair of the Council's Healthcare IT Taskforce, are leading the Council's healthcare IT initiatives. Summarily, the CIO Executive Council is advocating that the private sector take a lead role in developing the NHIN model and operating guidelines, with the federal government taking responsibility for enforcing the resulting guidelines and creating financial incentives to accelerate adoption.

According to Balagna, "Public/private partnership is necessary to achieve the successful development of NHIN standards and operating guidelines."

Hummel adds, "An industry and government collaboration will ultimately expedite program implementation, maximize available technologies and leverage industry experiences."

The CIO Executive Council's recommendations were prompted by the Request for Information (RFI) recently issued by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The RFI was issued to seek public comment and expert advice as to how the proposed NHIN should be developed, operated and sustained.

In addition to public/private partnership, there are several guiding principles the CIO Executive Council recommends:

• INFRASTRUCTURE: Leverage existing technology infrastructure models such as the ATM banking system or the model used by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

• THIRD PARTY SYSTEM MANAGEMENT: Establish or select a third party to house and manage the system's operations (similar to role CIRRUS plays within the ATM structure) and create a board of directors to govern the third party's activities

• GOVERNMENT ROLE IN ACCELERATING ADOPTION: Accelerate adoption by offering government-instituted financial incentives for keeping digital records and pushing organizations to opt-in to the NHIN. (NOTE: Ninety percent (90%) of physicians have yet to adopt digital recordkeeping as a standard practice.). Government instituted financial incentives, as well as enforced compliance deadlines would be helpful in getting the network up and running. Additionally, federal funding and other financial assistance will be necessary to bring aboard small healthcare organizations and clinics. Government should refrain from owning the information contained in the network.

• FEE-BASED: Adopt a fee-based model tied to volume of use or type of information being accessed. Large organizations should be responsible for financing the necessary enhancements to their systems, with the U.S. government stepping in to help the clinics and small organizations that have fewer funds to allocate to development.

• PATIENT FOCUS: Design NHIN benefits to ease and improve patient care

According to Mark Hall, CIO of CXO Media and General Manager of the CIO Executive Council, "The success of any information technology-based system rests heavily on the contributions of CIOs, who bring invaluable knowledge and experience to such a complex and pervasive undertaking. In recommending these guidelines, the CIO Executive Council has taken an important step towards identifying and substantiating the key elements to a national health information network."

For more information about the CIO Executive Council's response to the RFI, please contact Karen Fogerty at 508.935.4091 or

Launched in April 2004, the CIO Executive Council ( is a professional organization of the nation's leading CIOs.


Launched in 1987, CIO magazine addresses issues vital to the success of chief information officers (CIOs) worldwide. The CIO portfolio includes a companion website (, CIO Executive Programs and the CIO Executive Council. CIO properties provide technology and business leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT's role in achieving business goals. The U.S. edition of the magazine and website are recipients of 140 awards to date, including two Grand Neals from the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards and two Magazine of the Year awards from the National Society of Business Publication Editors. CIO magazine is published in more than a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France and Germany. CIO Executive Programs—a series of face-to-face conferences including CIO Perspectives® and the CIO 100 Awards & Symposium™—provide educational and networking opportunities for pre-qualified corporate and government leaders. The CIO Executive Council is a professional organization of CIOs created to achieve lasting change in critical industry, academic, media and governmental groups. CIO magazine,, and CIO Executive Programs, and the CIO Executive Council are produced by International Data Group's award-winning business unit: CXO Media Inc.


CXO Media Inc. produces award-winning media properties and executive programs for corporate officers who use technology to thrive and prosper in this new era of business, including CIO, CMO, CSO magazines and websites, and the CIO Executive Council. CXO Media is a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading technology media, research and event company. A privately-held company, IDG publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers including Bio-IT World, CIO, CSO, Computerworld, GamePro, InfoWorld, Network World, and PC World. The company features the largest network of technology-specific websites with more than 400 around the world. IDG is also a leading producer of more than 170 computer-related events worldwide including LinuxWorld Conference & Expo®, Macworld Conference & Expo®, DEMO®, and IDC Directions. IDC provides global market research and advice through offices in 50 countries. Company information is available at

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