Direct Secure Messaging

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What is Direct?

Direct is a national encryption standard for securely exchanging clinical healthcare data via the Internet. It is also known as the Direct Project, Direct Exchange and Direct Secure Messaging. It specifies the secure, scalable and standards-based method for the exchange of Protected Health Information (PHI). It was developed in 2010 under a part of a federal project for standards-based healthcare communications.

As a part of qualifying for incentive payments under the Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), healthcare organizations and providers must meet data transfer requirements using Direct Messaging. These requirements can be demonstrated with Electronic Health Records that comply with the ONC’s 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria which specifies electronic exchange of transition of care records with Direct Messaging.

Who uses Direct?

  • Hospitals
  • Providers/Clinicians
  • Care Team Members
  • Patients
  • Laboratories
  • Pharmacies
  • Long Term Care
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Specialists
  • Dental

Why should you care?

Direct helps to cut costs and deliver improved quality of care.

On the clinical side, Direct Messaging addresses gaps in transitions of care which have been identified as a significant patient safety issue. Incomplete exchange of patient health information among providers when transitioning from one care environment to another is a point of vulnerability that can compromise the overall quality of care a patient receives.

On the business side, Direct Messaging can reduce or eliminate the costs associated with fax workflows by transitioning relatively expensive fax communication to less expensive email workflows.

Direct Messaging provides many additional benefits including:

  • Strong security and privacy protection of PHI
  • One unified standard that all systems can leverage
  • Improved communications between providers
  • Easily sent and received referral information
  • Efficient report exchange
  • Ease of sharing patient information
  • Improved practice workflow

How is Direct used?

Here are some of the ways Direct can be used to communicate or share private health information:

  • Transitions of care (CCD, CCD-A documents)
  • Physician consult requests
  • Admit-Discharge-Transfer Requests (ADT)
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Lab/Test results
  • Patient communication
  • Order submission
  • Report distribution
  • Peer to peer collaboration

How does Direct work?

Direct can be incorporated into a variety of user interfaces such as an email client, a mobile device, healthcare IT system portals or as an automated data delivery feed. Any of these interfaces are capable of sending or receiving Direct messages. But in order to participate, both sender and recipient users will need a specific Direct email address provided by their HISP (see below). Healthcare IT systems can integrate Direct in multiple ways depending on the desired workflow.

Where can you get Direct?

Direct messaging services are provided by a Health Information Service Providers or HISP, such as DataMotion, and the DataMotion Direct messaging service. To learn more about HISPs click the button below.







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