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New Use Cases Driving Growth in Health Data Exchange through Direct

October 27, 2016
by Heather Landi
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In an update, DirectTrust reported significant growth in Direct exchange of health information and the number of trusted Direct addressed enabled to share personal health information (PHI) in the third quarter of 2016.

At the same time, DirectTrust also added three new members during the third quarter.

The organization reported tend of third quarter 2016 metrics indicate that the number of health care organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers (HISPs) and engaged in Direct exchange increased nearly 62 percent to more than 69,000, compared with the same time last year. The number of trusted Direct addresses enabled to share PHI grew 37 percent to more than 1.3 million at the end of the third quarter.

Additionally, there were nearly 22 million Direct exchange transactions in the third quarter, an increase of more than 64 percent over the same period a year ago.

David C. Kibbe, M.D., president and CEO of DirectTrust said new and often innovative use-cases are driving the growth in Direct exchange.

“We've entered a new phase of growth for Direct exchange; one in which Meaningful Use (MU) is no longer the single major driver of adoption. New and often innovative use-cases are springing up in which Direct replaces fax, phone, and/or mail in the workflows of healthcare-related organizations whose professionals don't necessarily use EHRs and don't directly benefit from the MU incentive bonuses," he said.

“Examples include automated clinical summaries going to and from emergency departments and medical practices; automated routing of data from hospitals' and practices' IT systems to public health surveillance and quality registries; and administrative data exchanges linked to revenue cycle management, among others,” he said. “Non-MU participating healthcare organizations such as long-term care and post-acute care facilities, home health agencies, departments of health, and quality and/or specialty registries are gaining access to the DirectTrust network because they want to reach the providers already accessible there. I look for this trend to accelerate as the tools for interoperable exchange become more familiar across the industry."

During the third quarter, three healthcare organizations joined DirectTrust—, HealthlinkNY, a Qualified Entity, funded by the New York State Department of Health, that operates a health information exchange and population health improvement programs and LifeWIRE.

“DirectTrust's diverse alliance offers in-depth technical and market expertise for more than secure e-mail transport. Our members are building a platform for interoperability capable of supporting multiple technologies and combinations of technologies that can improve care and reduce costs. Sharing ideas and collaboration is a large part of what we do, and enhances the value of membership in DirectTrust because it brings to the table for discussion such critical areas as identity management, public key infrastructures, and new use-cases for patient-to-provider communications that integrate Direct exchange with secure chat and texting,” Kibbe said.

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