Project Unify Team

Project Co-Lead, 
Brian D. Handspicker

Project Co-Lead, 
Eric Jahn

 Project Unify: Blueprints and proofs of concept for multi-domain interoperability

Project Unify is a cross-industry and cross-sector advanced development project of Stewards of Change Institute and its National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC). The project is exploring the use of existing and draft standards to implement secure information sharing and interoperability across healthcare, behavioral health and human services, as well as other domains (education, child welfare, etc.) that encompass the social determinants of health and well-being for individuals, families and communities.

Unify’s goals are to:

  • identify the challenges of implementing interoperability among healthcare, behavioral health and human services, as well as other domains (education, child welfare, etc.);
  • develop technical implementation agreements to overcome these challenges, based on existing and developing industry standards, and;
  • define the necessary governance policies between domains.

The Unify team is developing “blueprints” (or “implementation agreements”) based on open data, open standards and open-source technology. To prove these best-practices concepts, we deliver demonstrations of how to meet the interoperability needs of Unify’s user stories. We also plan to incorporate other NIEM domains, such as courts, into our proof of concept.

Ultimately, the ability to securely exchange data relating to health, human services, education, child welfare, etc. will facilitate a more-comprehensive and complete view of individuals. This holistic view will, in turn, facilitate care coordination and other collaboration by health and human services programs to more-effectively address those individuals’ needs.


Project Unify seeks to demonstrate that health, human services, education, and justice information systems can:

  • discover common patients/clients/consumers;
  • map and model data based on domain-specific data model and element definition standards (e.g., FHIR, NIEM, CEDS/EdFi/PESC, etc.);
  • exchange data among systems using domain-specific source or target standard protocols;
  • define content based on domain-specific standard vocabularies (e.g., LOINC, ICD-10, etc.);
  • implement exchanges based on privacy rules associated with HIPAA/FERPA/etc.; and
  • protect those exchanges with security best practices (e.g., SMART, OpenID, OAuth2, etc.).

Participants in Project Unify

The project is being conducted by NIC’s Let’s Get Technical (LGT) group, the MITA Technical Architecture Committee (MITA-TAC), and additional partners who are contributing in a variety of ways to further this potentially transformative work.

Project Unify is a collaboration by a diverse team of experienced and knowledgeable technologists and subject matter experts representing information domains including (but not limited to) healthcare, behavioral health, child welfare, adult social services, housing, education, nutrition, public health and public safety.

How Do I Join?

We welcome additional technical and subject-matter experts, developers, documenters and testers, along with anyone who just wants to follow along or provide input and gain a better understanding of how to provide interoperable, cloud-based solutions relevant to Project Unify. Please contact Daniel Stein if you have any questions or want to volunteer for this effort.