Rural Indiana hospital adopts Direct messaging technology

By Erin McCann
10:32 AM

A rural Indiana hospital has taken the next step in updating its health information technology to better align with federal standards.

On Monday, officials at the Adams Memorial Hospital announced that the healthcare provider has become the first rural hospital in the state to utilize electronic messaging through the Direct Project. 

As a designated Health Information Service Provider (HISP), Michiana Health Information Network (MHIN) is facilitating this program for the northern Indiana hospital. 
Endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a way to simplify the cross-platform exchange of information in the healthcare industry and promote the concept of a nationwide health information network, the Direct Project is a progressive, experimental technology with straightforward and simple functionality. 

[See also: Rural hospitals get technology boost.]

The Direct mail electronic messaging allows healthcare providers and patients to share health information as easily as they use email, with the security measures necessary to protect patient privacy. The standards-based technology framework for the Direct mail concept is beginning to be implemented and deployed in many different health information exchange (HIE) scenarios across the U.S. 

Among many potential use cases, the Direct Project has the potential to assist providers in meeting many aspects of meaningful use including care coordination, patient engagement, receiving lab results and public health reporting.

For Adams Memorial Hospital, the Direct Clinical Messaging program is live today with comprehensive result delivery directly from the hospital or laboratory to the physician practices in the community. IT officials have plans to expand the program further in the near future to meet other communication needs internally within the hospital as well as within the healthcare community it serves.

With MHIN as the certified HISP, participating providers in the network receive HL7 transactions converted to user-friendly result formats, such as PDFs, in real-time and may message and exchange health information between and amongst one another through individually assigned mail inboxes.

[See also: Indiana Health Information Exchange improves clinical messaging service.]

"With Direct mail, our providers are receiving information on their patients immediately as the results are made available. From there, their action items are more convenient and effective, with little to no training on the product itself. It's just going to make our physicians' lives easier, and that's how technology should work," said Tom Nordwick, president and CEO of Adams Memorial Hospital.

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