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CMS Interoperability Rule, ADT, Fuels Direct Secure Messaging Growth

The CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule’s ADT notification standard has resulted in a significant increase in direct secure messaging.

DirectTrust has reported a significant uptick in direct secure messaging which could help healthcare organization compliance with the admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) messaging standard requirement of the CMS Interoperability and Patient access final rule.

DirectTrust facilitated 326 million direct secure messages during the second quarter of 2021, a 130 percent increase from the same time last year, and a 90 percent increase over the first quarter of 2021.

Since DirectTrust began tracking transactions in 2014, the vendor has reached nearly 2.6 billion transactions. On average, this is over 109 million transactions per month.

“We’re delighted with the continued steady growth across all DirectTrust metrics, and especially with the significant uptick in Direct Secure Messaging,” Scott Stuewe, president and CEO of DirectTrust, expressed in a public statement.

Stuewe noted that DirectTrust attributes the upsurge in the use of direct secure messaging in part to the many organizations using the health IT to satisfy the ADT messaging standard that CMS put into effect on May 1.

“Also, aligned with the industry focus on social determinants of health, we’re pleased to see a growing diversity of organizations onboarding to Direct, such as public health agencies and community service organizations, like food banks,” Stuewe continued.

Compared with the same period a year ago, the number of people using direct secure messaging has increased by more than 19 percent to over 660,000 consumers. The number of trusted direct addresses also increased by 11 percent (2.7 million addresses total) in Q2 compared to the same time last year.

Additionally, the number of healthcare organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers (HISPs) and engaged in direct secure messaging grew nearly 7 percent to more than 268,000 compared with the same time last year.

With this growth, DirectTrust has announced the launch of the Interoperability Hero Initiative. This program allows the health IT organization to recognize organizations, teams, and individuals that are advancing interoperability.

Each quarter, beginning with the third quarter of 2021, DirectTrust will open a window for Interoperability Hero nominations. Those stakeholders meeting the criteria will be recognized during DirectTrust’s quarterly performance announcement.

“Since we began reporting performance metrics, we’ve focused on the numbers themselves, but there’s power in knowing the stories of why we’re seeing continued growth,” said Kathryn Ayers Wickenhauser, DirectTrust director of communications.

“We know that people are integral to advancing interoperability, and we created this initiative to recognize the many organizations, teams, and individuals making a difference,” Wickenhauser continued. “We’re looking forward to bringing attention to the use cases and successes of their efforts, and we invite nominations for future recognition."

Last week, the DirectTrust consensus body for Trusted Instant Messaging Plus (TIM+) launched a draft standard to finalize the process of becoming an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved national health IT standard.

TIM+ is the first industry standard to enable real-time healthcare communication that integrates trust network concepts to ensure secure transmissions between trusted entities. The healthcare messaging platform determines the presence of trusted endpoints and supports text-based communication as well as file transfers.

The comment period deadline for the draft standard is September 14, 2021.

“We’re very excited about what the TIM+ consensus body has accomplished thus far, and eagerly anticipate input from stakeholders, especially those actively using instant messaging, during the comment period,” Stuewe said in a press release at the time.

“The pandemic has emphatically underscored the need for secure and instantaneous cross-platform trusted communication, especially in light of the rise of telehealth use,” Stuewe continued.

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