Direct Messaging Has Value, But Not Without Challenges

A survey of 75 health information organizations in 27 states finds that two-thirds support Direct messaging protocols as the method of choice for exchanging data via secured messaging software.

In the 2015 Direct Messaging Survey, 51 percent agreed that the cost of using Direct was worth the benefit of health information exchange. The survey, conducted by the HIMSS Interoperability and HIE Committees, was designed to provide visibility on the use and value of Direct messaging for increasing interoperability and facilitating information exchange.

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The top five reported uses of Direct among those surveyed included: transitions of care, ADT notifications, patient communication, secure email for other purposes, and consult requests between physicians. According to the HIOs surveyed, the top three benefits of using Direct are: improved speed of information access, reduced paper handing, and more accurate and complete patient information.

At the same time, survey respondents indicated that the major challenges to Direct implementation include: high cost, changing workflows, and other providers not ready to interface.

“From our perspective, we see significant progress and optimism in several areas, signaling that HIE is maturing in the marketplace and beginning to deliver the intended value to their providers and communities,” states HIMSS. “While Health Information Organization participation in the survey is not statistically significant compared to the entire HIO population, we believe the responses serve a broad and diverse representation of the HIO market.”

Eight-three percent of respondents were part of a Health Information Service Provider (HISP) and 85 percent of HISPs were able to route information to another HISP. Sixty-seven percent of HIOs in the survey were part of a scalable trust network (i.e., DirectTrust, HealtheWay, NATE) and most respondents said it was extremely important that their HISP be part of such a network.

Results of the 2015 Direct Messaging Survey are available here for HIMSS members.

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