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DirectTrust Launches Patient-Centered HIE for Secure Sharing of Medical Records

June 1, 2016
by Heather Landi
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DirectTrust announced the launch of the Partnership for Patients Program (P4PP) with the aim of improving the secure exchange of protected health information (PHI) between patients and providers.

According to a press release, the P4PP initiative will enable patients and healthcare consumers to more easily share PHI with medical professionals at hospitals, offices, clinics and other locations via secure email. DirectTrust is a non-profit health care industry alliance created by and for participants in the Direct exchange network used for secure, interoperable exchange of health information between provider organizations, and between provider and patients.

The initiative aims to attract 1 million consumers and patients and is designed to remove the cost and complexity that can make it difficult for patients and consumers to engage in two-way digital communication with their care providers, according to a DirectTrust press release.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that healthcare providers provide access to personal health information in the format and file type — including electronic — requested by the patient. Individuals who join P4PP will have access to DirectTrust’s nationwide network of 58,000 health care organizations and more than 1.2 million email addresses. Participants can then take advantage of Direct exchange, which enables electronic health information exchange. According to the DirectTrust press release, Direct protects information through encryption and identity assurance.

Four DirectTrust members currently participate in P4PP and provide the necessary identity proofing and certificate issuance with EHNAC-DirectTrust accredited healthcare information service providers (HISPs) to onboard consumers and patients with Direct email accounts. The participants in P4PP are IdenTrust, iShare Medical, MaxMD and DataMotion. Additional DirectTrust members have committed to participate in P4PP in the coming weeks and months.

“The need for patients and consumers to take charge of their health information, communicate with their providers about their health and be free to move their health information anywhere they choose has never been greater,” DirectTrust president and CEO David Kibbe, M.D., said in a statement “This, of course, means individuals must have access to their personal health information stored in their providers’ EHRs and other health IT systems, and have that access electronically and digitally. It also means that individuals who desire it have the ability to download copies of their health information, or any parts of their medical record, and to collect, manage and transport the information to other providers. The Partnership for Patients Program gives patients and consumers all of these options.”

Patients and consumers access the P4PP program via the DirectTrust P4PP website to access step-by-step directions for setting up an account.

DirectTrust is experiencing rapid growth as this past May the organization released metrics related to its first quarter 2016 activity. According to the organization, DirectTrust saw nearly 350 percent growth in the number of health data exchanges in Q1 2016 as compared to Q1 2015. There were nearly 20 million health data exchanges in quarter one 2016. And, the number of healthcare organizations served through DirectTrust’s health information service providers (HISPs) increased by 46 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015.



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