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DirectTrust Launches Draft Health IT Standard, Instant Messaging Platform

DirectTrust has developed a draft standard for its instant messaging platform, TIM+, to pursue ANSI-approval as a national health IT standard.

The DirectTrust consensus body for Trusted Instant Messaging Plus (TIM+) has 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,” Scott Stuewe, DirectTrust president and CEO, said in a public statement.

“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.

The TIM+ Consensus Body will hold an information session about the TIM+ draft standard on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss the vision behind the development of TIM+ and its various use cases.

"TIM+ is a compliant, safe, and effective means to provide optimal wellness in a modern technological setting with features such as chat, file transfer, and presence,” noted Vince Albanese, CTO of Haven Health and TIM+ Consensus Body chair.

“These tools have the potential to dramatically improve efficiencies and safety in a variety of healthcare settings, including telehealth. The Consensus Body appreciates the ongoing encouragement and support from the DirectTrust community in fostering this effort and looks forward to industry comment as we work to publish a national Standard.”

The announcement of DirectTrust’s TIM+ draft standard comes shortly after ANSI approved the vendor’s Direct Standard as a national standard for health data exchange.

The Direct Standard, which lays the foundation for direct secure messaging, is a widely adopted health IT procedure that allows individuals to digitally send authenticated, encrypted health data to trusted recipients.

“We’re thrilled ANSI has recognized the Direct Standard as a national standard,” Stuewe said in a press release at the time of the announcement.

“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,” he continued.

When it comes to patient data exchange, provider communication is crucial. Health information exchanges and health systems leverage direct secure messaging to enhance provider-to-provider communication.

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 Direct Standard Consensus Body's group of PKI and health IT experts took on the careful work of tuning this important specification, shoring up terminology and further enhancing security and privacy," noted Luis Maas, MD, PhD, CTO of EMR Direct and chair of the Direct Standard Consensus Body.

"With these updates, this essential and widely used standard will continue to enable secure and interoperable transport of health information and ready access to health data by providers and patients alike well into the future,” Maas continued.

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