The Washington, D.C.-based DirectTrust, a non-profit trade alliance that advances secure, health information exchange (HIE) via the Direct Protocol, has announced that it has expanded its national network to include 26 Direct exchange health information service providers (HISPs).
These HISPs now provide Direct exchange services to more than 5,000 healthcare organizations— including medical practices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories—with nearly 200,000 individual Direct accounts and addresses nationwide, the organization said.
DirectTrust members abide by “Direct exchange”: strict privacy, security, and trust-in-identity controls that ensure messages and attachments sent over the Internet remain encrypted end-to-end, and that senders and receivers are identity-validated. Used within electronic health record (EHR) software, this empowers providers and hospitals to communicate with HIPAA-compliance across organizational boundaries and proprietary software platforms. It also qualifies them for the federal government’s 2014 meaningful use incentive programs.
“This network’s growth—more than 20-fold in nine months—has exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations,” DirectTrust president and CEO David C. Kibbe, M.D., said in the announcement. “Meaningful use is only meaningful to the extent that health data and information can follow the patient from one clinical setting to another—securely. Now, virtually any physician or hospital in the country can use their DirectTrust-accredited EHR's exchange services to connect to other physicians and hospitals on the network.”
The organization announced that it has also begun extensive HISP-to-HISP interoperability testing to ensure continued reliability of the network. The initiative is known as the Transitional Trust Anchor Bundle. Spearheading the interoperability efforts is the co-chairman of the DirectTrust Security and Trust Compliance workgroup, Luis C. Maas III, M.D., Ph.D. "Participating HISPs are true innovators and pioneers in using Direct to exchange health information,” Maas said in a statement. “They are not only actively collaborating to ensure that the technical infrastructure runs smoothly for every user, but are also benefitting from the network-wide validation of privacy and security practices under the DirectTrust/EHNAC DTAAP accreditation program.”