Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Tenn. Health eShare encourages HIE through Direct messaging

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Tennessee and Qsource, a non-profit healthcare quality improvement organization, have launched their new Health eShare initiative to encourage providers to participate in health information exchange through the federal Direct Secure Messaging protocol.  By allowing providers to send and receive encrypted emails and file attachments, Direct facilitates a basic information exchange through a regular internet connection without the need to develop additional infrastructure.

“Health eShare will be the driving force that helps Tennesseans embrace Direct and other technology that facilitates secure health information exchange,” said Dawn FitzGerald, chief executive officer of Qsource in a press release. “Transmitting health information electronically can reduce clerical errors and provide a full picture of a patient’s status for all involved in the continuum of care. It’s imperative that everyone in Tennessee rally around Health eShare Direct Project as an effective way to improve healthcare.”

“Exchange of paper records is slow, expensive and inadequate for quality care. Plus, traditional email and phone call exchanges may violate HIPAA requirements. Instead of fax, phone or hand delivery, Direct makes this exchange as easy as writing an email, but with guaranteed security,” added Jennifer McAnally, director of Tennessee’s Regional Extension Center (REC).

Direct messaging has been taking off in recent months, allowing states to exchange information within their own borders and with their neighbors, as well.  The secure email capability is seen as a first step towards more advanced HIE, and the standardized protocol is helpful in overcoming barriers between health IT systems and differing state laws.  Direct adoption will also help providers achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use, placing the costs under the umbrella of the EHR Incentive Program.

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