WASHINGTON, May 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DirectTrust today reported continued strong growth in the number of DirectTrust network users, trusted addresses, and patient/consumer use during the first quarter of 2020. DirectTrust is a non-profit healthcare industry alliance created to support secure, identity-verified electronic exchanges of protected health information (PHI) between provider organizations, and between providers and patients, for the purpose of improved coordination of care.

According to end of first quarter 2020 metrics:

  • DirectTrust organizations served:  The number of healthcare organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers (HISPs) and engaged in Direct exchange jumped nearly 44% to more than 240,000, compared with the same time last year.
  • DirectTrust trusted addresses: The number of trusted Direct addresses able to share PHI grew 24% to more than 2.4 million, compared with the same time last year.

  • DirectTrust patient/consumer use: The number of patients/consumers using Direct Secure Messaging increased 107% to more than 5.4 million, compared with the same period a year ago.
  • Direct exchange transactions: There were nearly 142 million messages sent and received within the DirectTrust network during the first quarter of 2020. This is a decrease of about 13%, compared with the same period last year, reflecting the precipitous drop in routine and elective procedures, and referrals due to COVID-19. Direct exchange transactions since DirectTrust began tracking transactions in 2014 reached 1.5 billion at the end of the first quarter.

  • DirectTrust membership:  Three organizations joined DirectTrust during the first quarter of 2020. Its total membership now stands at 105. New members since January 1 are:
    • Retarus
    • APHL (Association of Public Health Laboratories)
    • SHIEC (Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative)

Scott Stuewe, President and CEO of DirectTrust commented: “We’re pleased to see continued solid growth in the number of organizations served by DirectTrust HISPs, trusted addresses, and patient/consumer addresses. At the same time, COVID-19 impacted Direct exchange transactions. The industry has suffered a huge hit to volume as demand for non-essential health care has come to a screeching halt. In this environment, the number of Direct exchange transactions may be viewed as a canary in a coal mine; a lack of communication among providers as the result of a dramatic falloff in appointments.”

“We believe a silver lining during this difficult time is that it has stimulated communication with new end points that previously had not been provisioned. We're aware of new end points for public health and social services purposes, as well as entities wanting an easy method for communicating with those end points, hence the increase in addresses. Organizations now realize they need to send to public health providers and to entities they may not typically communicate with, like competitors.  Direct is the easiest way to communicate structured and unstructured data quickly with those end points. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of the term COVID in an increasing number of new addresses, indicating crisis-specific use, in both the public health and health system arenas,” Stuewe concluded.

Charts detailing end of first quarter results, plus commentary on the impact of COVID-19 from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), are available here or by contacting Ed Emerman at eemerman@eaglepr.com or 609.240.2766.

About DirectTrust
DirectTrust™ is a non-profit, vendor-neutral alliance initially created by and for participants in the Direct community, including Health Information Service Providers (HISPs), Certificate Authorities (CAs), Registration Authorities (RAs), healthcare providers, consumers/patients, and Health IT vendors. DirectTrust serves as a governance forum, trust community, standards organization, and accreditation body for persons and entities engaged in exchange utilizing the Direct Standard™, supported by DirectTrust’s robust security and trust framework. The goal of DirectTrust is to develop, promote, and, as necessary, help enforce the rules and best practices necessary to maintain security and trust within the Direct Secure Messaging community. DirectTrust is committed to fostering widespread public confidence in the interoperable exchange of health information. To learn more, visit www.directtrust.org.

Media Contact
Ed Emerman
Eagle Public Relations