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DirectTrust Joins Federal Health Agencies for Interoperability

This interoperability agreement will help spread DirectTrust to 23 different federal health agencies within the Federal Health Architecture.

By Sara Heath

- DirectTrust and the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) have joined teams to create better health information exchange and interoperability between private and public sector health entities.

DirectTrust Security Messaging logo

In a press release late last week, DirectTrust explained that this agreement, dubbed the Government Trust Anchor Bundle, will extend DirectTrust services to 23 government agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

By extending DirectTrust’s secure messaging solutions to these agencies, more patients being served by public health programs will reap the benefits of health information exchange and interoperability.

The Government Trust Bundle will have high levels of security, requiring rigorous identity controls for users to activate the messaging. The agreement requires users to operate within the parameters of DirectTrust’s Security and Trust Framework, which calls for the following:

  • DirectTrust's Certificate and HISP Policies;
  • the criteria of the EHNAC-DirectTrust accreditation programs; and
  • the terms and conditions of the DirectTrust Federated Services Agreement.

This feature makes it possible for such a vast number of users to engage with the secure messaging system without having to forge individual trust and security contracts.

This agreement will help increase quality care and spread it into government health agencies across the country.

"This is a momentous day in the advancement of secure electronic health information exchange. Congratulations to all at the FHA and to DirectTrust's Trust Anchor Approval Committee year-long effort to accomplish this important goal," said DirectTrust president and CEO David C. Kibbe, MD, MBA. "We look forward to secure electronic Direct messaging with attachments replacing fax and mail for care coordination among clinicians in government health facilities and their counterparts in the private sector. Considerable and significant benefits can be expected for the care of millions of Americans including, veterans and active duty military personnel, and their families."

This agreement sets a positive precedent for the cooperation between public and private health agencies to help increase health information exchange and interoperability. By working together, all healthcare organizations can work to the overarching goal of improving health for all individuals, regardless of where they receive their care.

"FHA is proud to have organized the team of federal agencies and private sector representatives that agreed on security requirements for transmitting and receiving Direct Messaging," said Gail Kalbfleisch, Director of FHA. "This agreement is an example of how federal and private agencies can successfully work together."

Healthcare has been making several advancements with regard to interoperability and health data sharing recently. Just last week the White House hosted the Precision Medicine Initiative Summit, where several key industry stakeholders announced agreements to facilitate better health data sharing and interoperability in the name of improving individualized treatment plans for patients.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Insitute (PCORI) announced that it will implement programs with its member clients to allow individuals to access their health information in their EHRs and to share that information with expert treatment developers.

Likewise, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has partnered with OpenNotes to spread patient access to health information to more providers nationwide. By allowing patients to view their physician notes, they become more informed and empowered in their care and are able to help play a key role in care coordination.

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