National Association for Trusted Exchange and MaRS Discovery District Announce Cross-Border Partnership

The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) in Washington and MaRS Discovery District in Toronto today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on projects that accelerate access to, and personal use of, healthcare data by patients in the United States and Canada. This collaboration will involve a number of projects and initiatives related to health data liberation.

MaRS is catalyzing Canada’s new health economy through a suite of programs, services and platforms that advance innovation in healthcare. In support of this mission, MaRS Data Catalyst and partners are developing MyHealth – a gateway between consumer-facing solutions and public/private health information custodians. MyHealth aims to empower citizens through a more complete view of their health and support their fitness, diet, disease prevention and management.

NATE brings the expertise of its membership and stakeholders together to find solutions for the exchange of health information. Consistent with NATE’s mission to address the legal, policy and technical barriers that inhibit health information exchange (HIE) between US-based entities, NATE leads and participates in projects that enable the electronic exchange of personal health information between providers and patients through consumer-facing applications.

Several goals have been outlined for this collaboration:


“NATE is excited to have this opportunity to work with and learn from our esteemed colleagues to the north. There are many similarities to the barriers that consumers face in the United States and Canada when attempting to access their health information. We believe that by sharing lessons learned and best practices with our peers to the north we can accelerate overcoming these barriers. Many of the same electronic medical records and consumer-facing applications are in both Canada and the US, which allows a number of uniform pathways to collaborate. We hope our collaboration mutually benefits all stakeholders and results in efficiencies and innovations that accelerate the realization of both NATE’s and MaRS’ missions,” said Aaron Seib, NATE CEO.

“Consumer access to, and control of, their own health data is a critical step in improving health outcomes,” said Joe Greenwood, Program Director, MaRS Data Catalyst. “MaRS is delighted to collaborate with NATE to share lessons learned from across Canada and the US as we overcome mutual challenges and build a foundation of trust and security that can support truly scalable solutions.”

This agreement aligns with four key areas of activity at MaRS and NATE:

  1. Engagement and advocacy
    • Introduction to key national leaders, experts and advocates, and sharing of strategies for engaging with and educating healthcare consumers in the US and Canada
  2. Health information access and exchange
    • Exchange of methodologies, learnings, tools and experiences in the development, refinement and use of trust bundles and other emergent trust mechanisms
  3. Data security, privacy and consent
    • Cooperative identification of policy and legal aspects of privacy, security and consent unique to Canada, the US and other global jurisdictions, and engagement in support of shared goals, potentially around the development of new privacy and consent models for health information access and exchange
  4. Business models and processes
    • Sharing of learnings around the role of non-profit organizations working to accelerate patient-centered health information exchange

The MoU will be effective as of August 1, 2015. Stakeholders in the US and Canada interested in learning more about, or potentially participating in, collaborative activities should contact their respective organizations for details.

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About National Association for Trusted Exchange

The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) brings the expertise of its membership and other stakeholders together to find common solutions that optimize the appropriate exchange of health information for greater gains in adoption and outcomes. Emerging from the Western States Consortium, a pilot project supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), NATE was established as a not-for-profit organization in May 2013. Consistent with NATE’s mission to address the legal, policy, and technical barriers that inhibit health information exchange between entities within a state and across states, NATE leads and participates in a number of ongoing and emerging projects in the HIE domain. NATE has been operating its own Trust Bundles in production since November 2012 and took over administration of the Blue Button Plus Patient and Provider Trust Bundles in 2014. Working with a broad set of stakeholders through multiple task forces, crowdsourcing and a call for public comment, NATE is proud to make available the first release of NATE’s flagship Blue Button for Consumers (NBB4C) Trust Bundle beginning in 2015. NATE will soon move into a new phase of development around Blue Button Trust Bundles. Stakeholders interested in participating in the next phase of NATE’s work in consumer mediated exchange should consider NATE membership or subscribe to news from NATE’s PHR Community.

About MaRS Discovery District

MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is the one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs, supporting a new generation of makers and innovators who aim to make the world a better place by creating solutions that address key societal challenges. It is a community that encourages entrepreneurial thinking through education programs and events, and helps startups launch, grow and scale. MaRS supports over 1,000 ventures that, in turn, employ more than 5,100 people. In the last three years, MaRS ventures have raised $1.3 billion in capital and earned $640 million in revenue. Through its Data Catalyst program, MaRS works to solve complex and important problems by acting as a trusted and neutral third party that connects people and data. Learn more.

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