Skip to content Skip to navigation

Federal Government Issues Direct Implementation Guidelines

May 28, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

The Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has issued an implementation guideline in an attempt to help providers and stakeholders properly and effectively implement Direct. Direct is a federally-developed program that has aimed to create a platform that faciliates the secure exchange of authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the internet.

The guidelines, the ONC’s Kory Mertz said in a blog post, will help ensure Direct is “being executed in a way that will support vendor-to-vendor exchange and interoperability.” They are recommended policies for health information service providers (HISPs), trust communities and accrediting bodies. Within the guidelines, ONC recognizes that there are two distinct roles in Direct exchange organizations: Security and Trust Agents (STAs) and Regulation Authorities (RAs) to establish the identity of certificate subjects and Certificate Authorities (CA) issue certificates.

In addition, Mertz announced ONC is awarding an Exemplar Governance cooperative agreement to DirectTrust, a non-profit organization that creates policy and business processes/practices for Direct exchange. DirectTrust, he says, gives implementers of Direct “a simple way of establishing scalable technical trust via electronic trust bundle exchange,” which is a collection of anchor certificates from HISPs that “comply with a baseline set of common policies and practices.”

Through the agreement, which comes in the form of a $280,205 award, DirectTrust will promote and expand its work to establish and promote the adoption of security and trust “rules of the road.” This includes the aforementioned guidelines issued by ONC for Direct exchange, operationalized via accreditation.



Insurers to CBO: Consider Private Insurers’ Data in Evaluations of Telemedicine

Eleven private insurers, including Aetna, Humana and Anthem, are urging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the experience of commercial insurers when evaluating the impact of telemedicine coverage in Medicare.

AHRQ Developing New Patient Safety Surveillance Tool

With the aim of improving patient safety monitoring, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently developing and testing an improved patient safety surveillance system.

Gates Foundation Awards $210M to UW's Population Health Initiative

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.

AHA Offers Interoperability Standards Recommendations to ONC

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has offered feedback to the ONC on the agency’s draft Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) that it issued in August.

Survey: Healthcare Orgs Not Taking Mobile Security Seriously Enough

More than half (56 percent) of healthcare professionals believe their organization could be doing more to educate employees on HIPAA compliance and the rules around sharing protected health information.

Mount Sinai’s Research Arm Using Data Analytics to Address Health Inequities

The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.