The cost-efficiency and ease of use of Direct message protocols seems to be catching on across healthcare, as the number of organizations using it continues to increase. There were more than 197 million Direct Exchange transactions during the third quarter of 2019 – three times as many as during the same quarter last year.
WHY IT MATTERS
That’s according to the latest report from DirectTrust, the non-profit collaborative of more than 120 vendor, provider and government organizations seeking to advance the secure messaging protocol as a key driver of interoperability.
DirectTrust is also seeing continuing and sustained growth in the number of DirectTrust network users, addresses, and transactions, it said, as more provider organizations see it as an easy to deploy means of exchanging protected health information among providers, and between providers and patients.
In addition, five new organizations joined DirectTrust during Q3, bringing its total membership to 104: Harmony Solutions, HealthSplash, Konica Minolta Healthcare Business Solutions, Mediprocity and, on the federal side, the Social Security Administration.
According other Q3 milestones: The number of healthcare organizations served by DirectTrust HISPs and engaged in Direct exchange jumped nearly 75% – to more than 232,000 compared with the same time last year.
The number of trusted Direct addresses associated with the DirectTrust network grew 23%, to more than 2.2 million compared with the same time last year. And significantly, the number of patients and consumers using Direct messaging continued to grow – up 5% over the past quarter to nearly 292,000.
All told, there 197 million-plus Direct messages exchanged across the DirectTrust network during Q3 – roughly triple the number of transactions during the same period last year.
The cumulative total of Direct exchange transactions since the network’s creating in 2014 reached 1.2 billion at the end of the third quarter, averaging more than 68 million per month so far in 2019.
THE LARGER TREND
DirectTrust’s network helps enable exchange to more than 106,000 healthcare organizations and 1,582,373 Direct mail addresses, supporting both provider-to-provider messaging and bi-directional exchange between patients and their providers. More than 300 EHR vendors’ products and more than 50 HIEs participate in the DirectTrust network.
Over the past few years, the Direct protocol, which was first launched back in 2011, developed by a public-private partnership, has seen continued momentum as more and more healthcare organizations sign on. In August, DirectTrust noted “explosive growth” since 2018.
This past month, DirectTrust President and CEO Scott Stuewe spoke in Boston at the Connected Health Conference, describing what could someday be another big addition to Direct-enabled interoperability and patient matching: blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
ON THE RECORD
“The DirectTrust network continues to grow, proving the industry is finding value in interoperability and Direct Secure Messaging,” said Stuewe in a statement announcing the Q3 results.
“We’re excited that this quarter’s results highlight a surge in organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers, and an increase in patient and consumer usage,” he added. “We attribute the continued remarkable growth of the DirectTrust network to the ease of deployment of Direct exchange, and the cost-effective, widely deployed, and uncomplicated mechanism for secure interoperable data transport enabled by Direct Secure Messaging.”
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Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.
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