RHEx is billed as a open-source, exploratory project to pilot proven web technologies that support simple, secure, standards-based health information exchange. RHEx continues the government 2.0 tradition of federal partner investment to find innovative solutions to their health IT needs and share the results of their investment with the entire health IT community.
The RHEx project is funded by the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) program to help address the September 2011 NwHIN Power Team draft recommendations to the HIT Standards Committee to consider REST as a complementary technology to health information exchange. The FHA is an initiative led by the ONC to coordinate the health information technology efforts of the nearly two dozen federal agencies that provide health care services. The FHA is led by the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health & Human Services (HHS) with more than 30 additional participating agencies. Having this project run by the FHA as an S&I Affiliate provides clear benefits and savings across agencies. As Vish Sankaran, former program director has said, "You build the software once under the FHA and agencies can use it multiple times."
As an S&I Affiliated Project, RHEx is intended to inform a path forward for REST and explore an approach that facilitates:
- Patients’ ability to securely access and manage their health information over the World Wide Web (WWW) while preserving their privacy;
- Providers’ ability to obtain and exchange health information with each other to support patient care; and
- Organizations’ability to leverage technologies widely used on the web to foster health IT solutions that are relatively easy to implement and maintain.