The Department of Health and Human Services should further leverage use of the Direct Project secure messaging technology to accelerate information exchange across diverse provider settings, advises two large coalitions of consumer and patient organizations.

The Consumer Partnership for eHealth and the Campaign for Better Care, jointly representing more than 150 advocacy groups, responded to a request for information on ways to reduce barriers to data exchange. Expanded and easier use of Direct is one such way, according to the coalitions. “For example, CMS should map National Provider Identifier numbers to providers’ Direct e-mail addresses and produce a directory to more seamlessly enable secure provider-to-provider communication. HHS also could consider how to offer patients and family/designated caregivers’ Direct e-mail addresses to encourage provider-patient secure communication.”

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