One of the most asked for features in today’s electronic medical record (EMR) technology is a secure built-in messaging system. This is an important feature and many providers are integrating this feature. One project aims to make that easier, Direct Project.
When today’s health-care providers exchange information, they're likely sending paper through the mail or fax. But, a growing number of patients are asking for electronic communication, mainly email. Many clinics are happy to oblige, however, secure communications is important, because Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires a HIPAA-compliant secure messaging - HIPAA is the standard for protecting secure information in the health industry.
Yet, currently, many physicians who want to use secure messaging to communicate with patients may have to purchase a third-party vendor’s software to do so. This involves an additional service agreement as well as monthly fees. There is an option that your existing vendor may be able to use.
That option is the Direct Project. While not the only one out there, this is an interesting program. Its concept is simple: In the projects' own words, “Direct Project specifies a simple, secure, stable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet.”
Essentially, each provider has a direct address that he or she can use to send and receive messages. Because these messages are secure, they can be used to send patient information to colleagues who need it for care.
A number of existing products already support the Direct Project specifications and allow for the secure delivery of messages. Visit Who’s Fueling Direct? to see if your vendor is one of them.
More information is available here.