The Washington, D.C.-based DirectTrust, the non-profit trade alliance that advances secure, health information exchange (HIE) via the Direct Protocol, facilitated more than 44 million direct messages in 2015 and the organization estimates that number could reach 800 million by the end of 2017.
The organization reported that it has facilitated more than 67 million Direct transmissions between Direct addresses since its 2013 inception. There were more than 13 million Direct messages transmitted during the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, and at the current rate of increase, the organization projects the number of direct transactions will climb to more than 230 million by the end of this year.
DirectTrust president and CEO David Kibbe, M.D., said in a statement, “2015 was a stellar year for Direct and what is fast becoming a national health information highway. Clearly, electronic messaging via the Direct protocol has reached a ‘tipping point’ because it simply keeps on working. Direct is a relatively inexpensive means of moving health data from point A to point B, securely and, most often, within the context of providers’ EHR technologies. So, Direct is leveraging and expanding our investments in EHR technology as a nation.”
He continued, “Additionally, Direct is becoming much more convenient to use; it often works alongside other exchange technologies, such as EHR-specific messaging systems and eHealthExchange/CONNECT. We expect to see continued uptake and adoption of Direct exchange as the drivers of care coordination, patient engagement, and measures reporting gain criticality under MIPS and MACRA, and as value-based and incentive-based payment programs become more important to providers. The bottom line: interoperable exchange of health data is fundamental to quality care giving."
According to a press release, the number of trusted Direct addresses able to share protected health information (PHI) across the DirectTrust network jumped 66 percent to more than 1 million. The number of health care organizations served by DirectTrust accredited health information service providers (HISPs) increased 47 percent to more than 52,000, compared with approximately 35,000 at year-end 2014. Direct's national network now includes 44 EHNAC-DirectTrust accredited HISPs.