The Direct Evolution: Why It Will Change How You Communicate
What is Direct?
Does it replace a HIE? Is it redundant with HL7 or XDS functionality? If I use email rather than Direct am I out of compliance with HIPAA?
Given the overabundance of mis-information and conjecture in the market today, it is important to take a step back and clarify the role and purpose of “Direct”. The Direct project, supported by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is an initiative aimed at promoting the adoption of a secure person to person email protocol for the healthcare industry. Health information exchange has been actively promoted since the ONC was created in 2004. Despite ONC’s promotion and Dr. David Brailer’s (the first National Health Information Technology Coordinator) proposed national framework for the creation of an electronic health record for every American. By 2014, adoption of health information has been slower than anticipated. In part this is due to the complexity of existing mechanisms for health information exchange, which have supported system to system messaging and a mechanism for providers to query data from another system, but not send data directly from one person to another.