Health Systems

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Considering that NHIN Direct is, at its most basic, "a system for secure email for physicians, their colleagues, and their patients," but in addition is a point-to-point "push" technology that supports RESTful and IHE XD* protocols for EHR-to-EHR exchange in a manner that is vendor neutral and OS agnostic, then some of the benefits that hospitals and integrated delivery systems can derive from NHIN Direct include:

- Easy to use by a wide spectrum of physicians and practices at the edges of your network, and across a diverse set of EHR technologies. Most hospitals and IDNs are looking for connectivity solutions with their physicians, and ways to facilitate exchanges between physicians offices and sources of health information, e.g. labs, imaging centers, outpatient procedure centers. NHIN Direct protocols and specifications can be an affordable and easy-to-implement adjunct to your local HIE solution for both owned and affiliated practices.

NHIN Direct will be especially helpful in connecting to physicians in small and medium size medical practices who want an easy, immediate, and affordable way to send and receive messages. All they need to get started is an email client software, a connection to the Internet, and a HISP to help them register their NHIN Direct address. But NHIN Direct protocols aren't limited to email transport. They are compatible with exchange across a wide range of EHR modules and complete EHR technologies from many different vendors who will be embedding NHIN Direct edge protocols into their products.

- Replaces the hassle and costs of the fax machine. In the past, the fax machine and telephone lines were the most convenient way to move health documents from one provider to another. NHIN Direct will allow hospitals and physicians to replace paper and fax machines with secure electronic messaging that's both practical and inexpensive.

- Helps meet Meaningful Use criteria at low cost, with or without new software. Meaningful Use criteria include the requirements to be able to electronically exchange health data with other physicians, and to send patients who request one a Clinical Summary in either CCR standard or CDA CCD structured data formats, as well as in human readable versions of these such as PDF or Word. Physicians with NHIN Direct addresses will be able to meet these requirements in a stand-alone manner using familiar email clients, or in conjunction with their purchase of either EHR modules or complete EHRs.

- Offers your important clinical partners a range of options for communicating with your networked facilities. NHIN Direct is a set of open policies, protocols, and standards for transport of health data -- not a software product. Separating the mechanisms of secure messaging transport from the applications layer in your community can have the advantage of decreasing the worry of some physicians that they will be "locked in" to particular EHR product or vendor, while permitting them to maintain an open communications channel with your organization.