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DirectTrust Health Data Exchange Likely to Hit 170M Transactions

Third quarter 2017 metrics showed a 114-percent increase in health data exchange transactions over the same time last year.

Health Data Exchange

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- DirectTrust announced it expects to reach 170 million cumulative health data exchange transactions for 2017 following a period of continued steady growth in users, addresses, and transactions in the third quarter of the year.

The healthcare industry alliance also revealed two new healthcare organizations — Brokers Broker and Janie Appleseed — have joined the DirectTrust network since July 1. DirectTrust’s total membership is now 121 organizations.

The five year-old nonprofit alliance was initially developed as a way to support clinical care coordination exchanges, but has since evolved to support administrative data exchange, quality measurement and data collection, patient engagement, and other operations previously fulfilled by fax.

The network’s third quarter 2017 metrics also showed the number of healthcare organization utilizing DirectTrust health information service providers (HISPs) and participating in DirectTrust exchange jumped by 54 percent compared to the same time last year.

The number of transactions facilitated through HISPs increased to more than 106,000. Furthermore, the number of trusted Direct addresses capable of sharing protected health information (PHI) increased by 20 percent to almost 1.6 million addresses.

“We’re starting to see Direct exchange selected to automate server-to-server connections and replace VPNs and single channel HL7 feeds,” said DirectTrust President and CEO David C. Kibbe, MD, MBA. “Direct has the benefit of being a secure one-to-many—not just one-to-one—platform for transport. Exploiting that benefit can save hospitals, health care systems, population management databases and others significant costs.”

The cumulative total of health data exchange transactions facilitated through the network is expected to hit 170 million by the end of the year. In the third quarter alone, DirectTrust reported there were over 46 million network transactions—an increase of 114 percent over this time last year.

Additionally, DirectTrust’s nationwide network now includes 43 EHNAC-DirectTrust accredited HISPs, 38 Accredited Trust Anchor Bundle HISPs and four Governmental Trust Anchor Bundle HISPs. 

“One-to-one interfaces are expensive to implement and maintain,” said Kibbe. “And once one is built, it’s just a single channel between two parties. Direct, on the other hand, provides a scalable network of interfaces able to reach virtually every EHR in the country. Direct is not just secure email: it’s a multi-use interoperability platform.”

DirectTrust similarly reported a period of continued growth at the end of its second quarter in July. Second quarter metrics showed the number of trusted Direct addresses able to share PHI increased by 15 percent and surpassed 1.5 million addresses.

Five new members had joined the alliance since April 1, including Mirah, vitaTrackr, TechSoft, PatientMD, and Care3. The participants joining the ranks of DirectTrust users ranged from health IT software companies geared toward serving behavioral health practices to digital health technology developers.

"DirectTrust continues to attract organizations that bring innovative technology and deep knowledge in health care information exchange and interoperability,” said Kibbe. “We welcome these new members to our network and I am confident that all of our current members will benefit greatly from their experience and expertise in their mission for effective interoperable exchange.”

In August, the alliance released a white paper with HL7 outlining ways Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and Direct standards can be used together to achieve technical improvements in health data exchange standardization. Both organizations aimed to improve exchange for users of either set of standards.

“Collaboration is key to getting the best out of standards,” said Kibbe. “We should take every opportunity to combine the strengths of different interoperability standards, so that they enrich and support each other.”

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