DirectTrust Delivers Interoperable Messaging To Healthcare

Alison Diana | Information Week | November 24, 2014

The nonprofit counts EHR developers, health networks, and care providers among its growing roster of members.

The nonprofit industry alliance DirectTrust hopes its voluntary accreditation and audit program, digital certificates, and relationship with the federal government will encourage more health information service providers (HISPs) to join its expanding program.  As part of healthcare's move to interoperability, starting Jan. 1, 2015, clinicians must use Direct electronic messaging, a process designed to replace faxes, for at least 10% of their referrals. Key to this messaging: directories that list how clinicians, health systems, pharmacies, and others in the healthcare ecosystem contact one another.

"Without the phone number, you can't send" referrals, said Dr. Charles Sawyer, chief health information officer for Geisinger Health System, an integrated health services organization that serves more than 2.6 million residents in 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.  But since the federal government did not mandate that HISPs interoperate, some are non-collaborative -- and that's where DirectTrust and its members come in.  Participants include Cerner, Athenahealth, Surescripts, San Diego Health Connect, Optum, Truven Health Analytics, and Siemens Medical Solutions. To date, DirectTrust serves more than 28,000 healthcare organizations and 450,000 individual users.

Surescripts, well known for its e-prescription and clinical messaging services, leveraged its provider knowledge to become a HISP, and it joined DirectTrust to promote adoption of standards and openness, Jeff Miller, general manager and executive vice president of clinical network services, explained in an interview. Surescripts saw an opportunity to broaden its clinical messaging product beyond medications. The company's clinical messaging service now provides hospitals and health systems with Direct authenticated, encrypted messaging, connectivity to the Surescripts network, and HISP capabilities...