Skip to content Skip to navigation

DirectTrust Agreement Creates Path for Federal Agency Direct Messaging

February 25, 2016
by David Raths
| Reprints
New trust anchor bundle to allow 23 federal agencies to exchange health data with private-sector providers

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that provides voluntary accreditation to organizations implementing Direct Messaging services, has reached an agreement with the Federal Health Architecture on a new governmental trust anchor bundle.

The participants in a trust anchor bundle are health information service providers, certificate authorities and registration authorities that have achieved accreditation through the EHNAC-DirectTrust Trusted Agent Accreditation Program.

The new trust anchor bundle will enable as many as 23 federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to begin using Direct Messaging for the electronic exchange of health information with private-sector providers.

The Federal Health Architecture is designed to bring together the decision makers in federal health IT for interagency collaboration that results in enhanced interoperability among federal health IT systems and efficient coordination of shared services.

The 4-year-old DirectTrust network currently reaches over one million users in over 50,000 health care organizations in all 50 states. Its Security and Trust Framework is the basis for the voluntary accreditation of service providers implementing Direct Messaging of health information. 

The governmental trust anchor bundle includes higher levels of security and identity controls than DirectTrust’s other anchor bundle. DirectTrust said the new bundle also should facilitate use of Direct by state agencies that require more stringent security control. These include state Medicaid and health insurance exchange programs and state public health departments.

"This is a momentous day in the advancement of secure electronic health information exchange,” said DirectTrust President and CEO David Kibbe, M.D., M.B.A., in a prepared statement. “Congratulations to all at the FHA and to DirectTrust's Trust Anchor Approval Committee year-long effort to accomplish this important goal. We look forward to secure electronic Direct messaging with attachments replacing fax and mail for care coordination among clinicians in government health facilities and their counterparts in the private sector. Considerable and significant benefits can be expected for the care of millions of Americans including, veterans and active duty military personnel, and their families."