DirectTrust and the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) today announced they have reached an historic agreement on terms for a new Governmental Trust Anchor Bundle. The new trust anchor bundle will enable as many as 23 federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to begin using Direct Messaging for the electronic exchange of health information with private sector health care providers.
The Governmental Trust Anchor Bundle, DirectTrust’s second, includes higher levels of security and identity controls, which makes it possible for multiple federal agencies to join and participate within the DirectTrust trusted network of private sector health care organizations using Direct.
Specifically, the agreement enables DirectTrust’s federal partners to operate their Direct implementations within the Security and Trust Framework of DirectTrust, which includes adherence to: 1) DirectTrust’s Certificate and HISP Policies; 2) the criteria of the EHNAC-DirectTrust accreditation programs; and 3) the terms and conditions of the DirectTrust Federated Services Agreement. These elements provide for “scalable trust” between Direct Messaging relying parties nationwide, without the need for one-to-one negotiations or one-off contracts. The DirectTrust network currently reaches over one million users in over 50,000 health care organizations in all 50 states.
DirectTrust anticipates the new Governmental Trust Anchor Bundle will facilitate use of Direct by state agencies nationwide that require the more stringent security controls contained in the new Governmental Trust Anchor Bundle. These include state Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchange programs, and state health and public health departments.
“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.”
“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.”
About the Federal Health Architecture
The Federal Health Architecture (FHA) is an E-Government Line of Business (LoB) initiative designed to bring together the decision makers in federal health IT for inter-agency collaboration that results in effective health information exchange (HIE), enhanced interoperability among federal health IT systems and efficient coordination of shared services. The FHA also supports federal agency adoption of nationally-recognized standards and policies for efficient, secure HIE.
DirectTrust is a four-year-old, non-profit, competitively neutral, self-regulatory entity created by and for participants in the Direct community, including Health Internet Service Providers (HISPs), Certificate Authorities (CAs), and Registration Authorities (RAs), doctors, patients and vendors, and supports both provider-to-provider as well as patient-to-provider Direct exchange. DirectTrust received a Cooperative Agreement Award from ONC as part of the Exemplar HIE Governance Program that was in place from March 2013 to March 2015. DirectTrust serves as a forum and governance body for persons and entities engaged in Direct exchange of electronic health information as part of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN). DirectTrust’s Security and Trust Framework is the basis for the voluntary accreditation of service providers implementing Direct Messaging of health information. The goal of DirectTrust is to develop, promote and, as necessary, help enforce the rules and best practices necessary to maintain security and trust within the Direct community, consistent with the HITECH Act and the governance rules for the NwHIN established by ONC. DirectTrust is committed to fostering widespread public confidence in the exchange of Direct Messaging of health information. To learn more, visit www.directtrust.org.