DirectTrust, EHNAC Merge to Advance Health Data Exchange Accreditation

The merger will help healthcare organizations better navigate the privacy and security hurdles that afflict health data exchange, an EHNAC official said.

DirectTrust and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) have announced a merger agreement to advance accreditation programs for health data exchange.

DirectTrust is a non-profit healthcare industry alliance created to support secure, identity-verified electronic exchanges of protected health information. EHNAC is a non-profit data standards development organization and accrediting body for organizations that electronically exchange healthcare data.

The agreement to merge EHNAC with and into DirectTrust is effective January 4, 2023.

EHNAC’s incorporation into DirectTrust is set to help the industry alliance create new accreditation programs related to consumer access and use of health data.

“We’re thrilled the long-standing relationship between EHNAC and DirectTrust is reaching its full potential with this merger,” Scott Stuewe, DirectTrust president and CEO, said in a public statement.

“This unequivocal demonstration of our mutual dedication to facilitating trust will enable both parties to optimize their complementary strengths to create new opportunities for trust and assurance in the healthcare industry, especially in the age of TEFCA,” he added.

Lee Barrett, executive director and CEO of EHNAC, and Debra Hopkinson, COO of EHNAC, will continue to work for and consult with DirectTrust. EHNAC staff members and assessors will also join DirectTrust.

The EHNAC Commission will remain intact and be designated as Commissioners overseeing accreditation-specific matters.

“This merger of expertise, resources, and technology leverages EHNAC’s accreditation programs as a ‘recognized security framework’ and is an inevitable culmination of the years our organizations have spent ensuring stakeholder trust,” said Barrett.

“By combining with the membership, standards development, technical trust, and accreditation capabilities of DirectTrust, we’ll be able to further support DirectTrust members, EHNAC-accredited organizations, and the industry as a whole to navigate the privacy and security hurdles that continue to afflict healthcare,” he continued.

DirectTrust members can expect to receive the same membership benefits and experience. Further, DirectTrust anticipates that members who pursue and achieve accreditation will experience a streamlined process once the merger is complete.  

Existing DirectTrust and EHNAC accreditations will remain valid after the merger. Accreditations and accreditation renewals will occur within the newly expanded DirectTrust organization.

Membership in DirectTrust will continue to remain separate from accreditation. EHNAC Accredited Organizations not currently members of DirectTrust are invited to join DirectTrust membership; DirectTrust membership is not required for accreditation.

DirectTrust and EHNAC will hold a Public Information Session about the merger on Friday, December 9, 2022, at 12:00 pm EST.

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