The US federal government’s current shift to sharing health information using open-source technology could potentially reduce costs and time for patients and the government, according to a panel discussion of health IT experts who gathered Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C., which sought to frame the progress of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) and how the federally-developed CONNECT system (an open-source implementation of the NHIN specifications that enables federal agencies and healthcare providers to exchange patient information) promotes the adoption and use of standards-based health IT systems while streamlining information, ideas and reducing costs.