Sunday, February 6, 2011

Direct Project Pilots Launched

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced that providers and public health agencies in Minnesota and Rhode Island are now able to exchange health information using specifications developed by the “Direct Project.”

The project was launched in 2010 as part of the NHIN to provide a simple secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the internet in support of Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements.

Participants include EHR, and PHR vendors, medical organizations, systems integrators, integrated delivery networks, federal and state organizations, and regional health information technology consultants.

Direct Project supports the transfer of laboratory results, physician-to-physician transfers of summary patient records, transmission of data from physicians to hospitals for patient admissions, transmission of hospital discharge data back to physicians, and transmission of information to public health agencies.

Since mid January, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), Minnesota’s premier Level 1 Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center has sent immunization records to the Minnesota Department of Health. VisionShare a company in Minnesota connects HCMC to the Minnesota Department of Health and plans to expand this project to other states including the Oklahoma Department of Health.

The Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI) has delivered a pilot project with two primary goals. The first action is improving patient care when patients are referred to specialists by providing direct provider-to-provider data. Secondly, RIQI is leveraging “Direct Project” messaging as a means to securely feed clinical information with the patient’s consent from practice-based EHRs to the statewide health information exchange. This action helps to improve quality by addressing the gaps in care and making sure the full record is available to all care providers,

Other “Direct Project” programs will be launched soon in Tennessee, New York, Connecticut, California, and Texas:

• Tennessee is working with the VA, local hospitals, and CareSpark to provide care to veterans and their families
• New York is working with Med Allies to implement the Direct Project with clinicians in hospitals, ambulatory care settings, and to help EHR vendors
• In Connecticut, Medical Professional Services is working to demonstrate the successful exchange of laboratory results back to the ordering physician and the system will be able to exchange referral information between providers and local hospitals, ambulatory care settings, and a FQHC
• Redwood MedNet are to provide health information exchange services in rural northern California. Participants in the Redwood MedNet Direct Project pilot include small practices, community clinics, small hospitals, as well as the state immunization office to operate.
• South Texas is collaborating with hospitals, ambulatory care settings, public health, and community health organizations to improve care to mothers with gestational diabetes and provide care to their newborns

For more information on the Direct Project, go to