COLUMBIA, Mo.

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - — Joseph Conn

— Statewide health in­for­ma­tion ex­changes in Mis­souri, Kansas, Ne­braska and Illi­nois will be able to send and re­ceive ba­sic health­care mes­sages be­tween each us­ing the fed­er­ally devel­oped se­cure mes­sag­ing pro­to­col. The Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy at HHS launched an ef­fort in 2010 to de­velop a sim­pli­fied method of “peer-to-peer” health in­for­ma­tion ex­change un­der the Amer­i­can Re­cov­ery and Rein­vest­ment Act of 2009. Fed­eral health IT au­thor­i­ties saw the sys­tem, dubbed Di­rect, as the key com­po­nent of its broader pro­gram to es­tab­lish a Na­tion­wide Health In­for­ma­tion Net­work that could serve a highly mo­bile pop­u­la­tion or re­gions that en­com­pass mul­ti­ple states. Di­rect en­ables hos­pi­tals and physi­cians with al­ready-es­tab­lished trust re­la­tion­ships to send and re­ceive ba­sic clin­i­cal mes­sages such as re­fer­ral let­ters, lab re­sults or pa­tient-care sum­maries. It con­trasts with the broader NWHIN tech­nol­ogy of query-and-re­sponse en­abling a clin­i­cian or re­searcher to query a uni­verse of records for a sin­gle pa­tient across mul­ti­ple providers through re­gional health in­for­ma­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions, or a net­work of RHIOs, and ob­tain copies of those records. Mis­souri, Kansas and Ne­braska are the lat­est states to link to­gether us­ing Di­rect. Mis­souri and Illi­nois pre­vi­ously an­nounced they were ex­chang­ing test mes­sages. Last April, Con­nect Vir­ginia, a statewide ex­change based in Rich­mond, launched its ser­vices with Di­rect and of­fered a year of free mes­sag­ing as an in­duce­ment to get mem­bers to use it.

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