- Nonprofit association DirectTrust reported on Tuesday the number of message transactions between healthcare organization using its Direct interoperability services topped 98 million last year, bringing the total since 2013 to more than 165 million.
- More than 33.5 million Direct messages occurred in the 2016 fourth quarter alone, according to the report.
- Also, the number of trusted Direct addresses capable of sharing patient’s health information grew 24% to more than 1.36 million at year end.
Direct messaging continues to be used mainly for care coordination, referrals, and alerts, but use in administrative and research data communications has begun, according to DirectTrust President and CEO David Kibbe. “As demand for Direct grows, vendors are increasingly improving their usability for Direct, and adding file formats that can be shared as attachments,” Kibbe said in a prepared statement. “I am really encouraged to see those ‘last mile’ types of problems being addressed across the industry.”
The report represents progress in the push for greater interoperability in digital health. HHS' Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology launched the DirectProject in 2010 to identify a secure, scalable, standardized way for providers and patients to send health information securely to trusted recipients using different electronic health record systems.
DirectTrust was founded five years ago to support and promote Direct messaging and has received a cooperative agreement award from the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.