The Direct Project began just under a year ago with 200 participants from more than 60 companies and other organizations who came together to work on how to standardize the exchange of data. The project is part of an effort by the the federal government's National Health Information Network to provide a secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet in support of Stage 1 "Meaningful Use" requirements. Meaningful Use is a set of standards and best practices adopted by the ONC to ensure health-care providers implement electronic health records appropriately.
By achieving Meaningful Use criteria , physicians and hospitals can receive up to $64,000 per physician in Medicare reimbursements over the next five years.
"It is exciting to see early, real-world examples of applications based on the Direct Project's security protocols emerging through the efforts of the private sector. Through public-private partnerships such as these, we are starting to see the sharing of critical information across the health system," said Wes Rishel, distinguished analyst at research firm Gartner, in a statement.
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