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HIE Leverages Direct Secure Messaging to Boost Care Coordination

The Rochester RHIO HIE has leveraged direct secure messaging in efforts to enhance provider-to-provider communication and boost care coordination.

The Rochester RHIO health information exchange (HIE) has partnered with health IT vendor Secure Exchange Solutions (SES) in efforts to boost data exchange and care coordination through direct secure messaging.

The HIE serves more than 1.5 million residents across 14 counties. The implementation of direct secure messaging is set to help close communication gaps between physicians and healthcare providers for referrals, care coordination, and critical clinical event notifications, Rochester RHIO said.

"Rochester RHIO chose to partner with SES to ensure that our HIE participants have access to the highest rated Direct solution in the market," Andrea Richardson, CIO of Rochester RHIO, said in a public statement.

 "SES worked with the Rochester RHIO team to seamlessly transition our base of 160 healthcare organizations and providers, representing over 1,000 Direct-enabled endpoints, as well as health system EHR integration to the SES Direct platform with zero provider friction in a very tight, less than six weeks, migration window,” Richardson continued.

The cloud-based direct secure messaging solution will allow the HIE to add additional endpoints as it grows.

When it comes to patient data exchange for care coordination, provider communication is crucial. Direct secure messaging facilitates that communication, reducing organizational inefficiencies.

Direct secure messaging is based on the Direct Standard developed by non-profit healthcare industry alliance DirectTrust. The Direct Standard is a widely adopted procedure that allows individuals to digitally send authenticated, encrypted health data to trusted recipients.

The Direct Standard builds on existing standards and deploys internet-scale infrastructure to ensure message security and structure, as well as public key infrastructure (PKI). The standard adds requirements for public key discovery, quality-of-service notifications, and relationship building among direct secure messaging partners.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently approved the Direct Standard as a national standard for health data exchange.

“ANSI’s approval clearly demonstrates that the Direct Standard meets their highest level of standards, and that the healthcare industry and participants in direct secure messaging can have total confidence in Direct as a secure method of transmitting electronic health information,” Scott Stuewe, DirectTrust President and CEO, said in a public statement at the time of the announcement. 

In May, DirectTrust announced that its health IT has facilitated over 170 million direct secure messages within its network during the first quarter of 2021, a 21 percent increase compared to the same time in 2020.

“Direct continues to be a reliable means for ensuring safe and secure transport of health information, and its consistent use confirms our position that interoperability of electronic health information is here and will continue to gain traction as a cost-effective means of improving the coordination of patient care,” Stuewe said in a press release at the time of the announcement.

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