The Direct Project, an initiative of the Office of the National Coordinator to bring together industry stakeholders to develop standards for secure transmission of protected health information over the Internet, has launched two pilot programs with six other pilots soon to start.

The goal of Direct Project is to provide a simple, secure and scalable way to exchange data via the Internet with known and trusted recipients, as well as meet Stage 1 meaningful use criteria for data exchange.

The Rhode Island Quality Institute leads a pilot program that will demonstrate data exchange between primary care providers and specialists, and use Direct Project standards to send data from electronic health records systems to the statewide health information exchange.

Under a pilot in Minnesota, Hennepin County Medical Center is sending immunization records to the state Department of Health through the transactions processing network of Minneapolis-based VisionShare--but using the Direct Project standards instead of the vendor's existing network protocols. VisionShare will expand the pilot to additional providers in Minnesota and other states.

More information on the Direct Project is available at

--Joseph Goedert


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