Potential audiences and their documentation needs

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Documentation and Testing Workgroup > Potential audiences and their documentation needs

Who needs documentation?

Well, anybody who can possibly ask a question could use documentation in order to easily find the answer to his question. So we ask ourselves who the major stakeholders are in the Direct Project and the various types of documents that might answer their primary concerns.


The coders, the people who are actually writing the HISPs, EHR workflow, security agents, and the other various moving parts in a Direct Project codebase.

Testers and Test Planners

In order for coders to verify that their code works properly, and in order for a coded implementation to certify its own compliance, these stakeholders need to test their code. The people who write the tests, then, need to know exactly what a piece of code needs to do in order to work properly, so that their tests can be used with confidence.


Those brave individuals who take working code and place it into a real live implementation.

Decision Makers in Participating Organizations

Perhaps it's Dr. Bob at Dr. Bob's Clinic, or perhaps it's the CTO of a large care delivery organization, or the board of a statewide HIE. Perhaps they have different needs - so perhaps we should divide them into separate groups - but these are the people who are making the decision as to whether they wish to commit their organizations to participation in Direct.

Standards Organizations

Eventually, our guides and specs will need to find a long term home. It might be IHE. It might be HL7. It might be IETF. We're not really sure right now.

Security Team

The security officers, developers, and other individuals who ensure the privacy and security of health information need to understand the security risks, vulnerabilities, and needed configuration to keep health data safe.

Business Vendors

EHR Vendors and ISPs both have roles to play in the Direct Project. They each make decisions about how, when, and to what extent they will provide products that contribute to the Direct Project, and in order to make these decisions, they need to understand their potential roles and what these roles demand.

Policy Makers

Direct plays an important role on the national stage and many of the decisions that have been deemed out-of-band by Direct's technical implementation still need to be answered as we move to the real world pilot stage.

The Public

If we succeed and Direct is widely adopted, patients will find their doctors using Direct to exchange information about them. While each organization may choose to make their own informational materials available to their consumers, there may be a need to answer the average guy's average questions.

The End User

The average clinician and his or her support staff, who will use Direct to exchange patient information.

The Media (e.g., the "Blogosphere", the "Twitterverse", the "Crazy Guy Yelling From His Front Porch", etc.)

The Documentation and Testing team is not the sole voice of the Direct project - there are already others who are writing about Direct efforts. It's important they have accurate facts upon which they can base their writings for their audience.