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CHIME, DirectTrust Partner with Goal of Universal HIE Network

August 30, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and DirectTrust have announced they are collaborating to promote the universal deployment of the DirectTrust framework and health information exchange (HIE) network as the common electronic interface for health data exchange across the U.S.

According to a statement from the two organizations, CHIME and DirectTrust “are working together to promote and ensure that secure, interoperable exchange of healthcare information via Direct exchange is available and able to be used at every location in the healthcare system where a patient’s data and information might be needed. This will include making Direct exchange universally available at hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies, labs, long-term care facilities, payers, insurers and health departments as well as on applications.”

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CHIME is a professional association for healthcare CIOs with more than 2,400 members across all 50 states in the U.S. as well as 47 other countries. Meanwhile, DirectTrust is a healthcare industry alliance created by and for participants in the Direct exchange network used for secure, interoperable exchange of personal health information between provider organizations, and between provider and patients, for the purpose of improved coordination of care.

DirectTrust’s network is considered by its officials to be the largest standards-based network for the exchange of health information, with more than 1.5 million send and receive endpoints, at over 100,000 healthcare organizations, via more than 350 ONC-certified EHRs (electronic health records).

In a recent whitepaper, DirectTrust laid out a path for how FHIR and Direct communities and technical specifications for each standard should relate to each other to offer new value. The paper noted that FHIR is a new standard that defines a web API (application programming interface) and related specifications for health data exchange, while Direct is an existing federal standard that is used in the U.S. for the exchange of healthcare data. There are differing views across the healthcare system as to the correct relationship between the two standards and communities, but the paper explains how they could work hand-in-hand.

“Our members strongly support the further development of a standards-based national platform to safely and securely exchange patient data,” CHIME CEO and President Russell P. Branzell said in a statement about this partnership. “DirectTrust offers an infrastructure that goes hand in hand with our goals to assist and lead where needed to improve patient care, engage patients in their health and reduce patient safety incidents. The National Patient ID Challenge, which we launched to accurately and safely identify patients no matter what the healthcare setting, is a perfect example of these needs that require a strong national exchange infrastructure. Having these two elements in place will go far toward offering high-quality, timely patient care anytime, anywhere in the U.S.”

DirectTrust CEO and President David C. Kibbe, M.D., added, “We are thrilled to be working with such a strong leader in CHIME and its membership of experienced health IT professionals. There is great potential in our new collaboration to further standardize and simplify health information exchange interfaces on a national basis for an expanded variety of use cases.”

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