VA Joins DirectTrust’s Accredited Trust Anchor Bundle

April 2, 2019
Now, VA could interoperate with all community hospitals and clinics who use Direct, officials say

DirectTrust, the non-profit health information exchange entity, has announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is joining the association’s “accredited trust anchor bundle,” which allows VA personnel access to the full national network of 1.8 million Direct endpoints.

According to DirectTrust officials, participating in the trust anchor bundle means VA providers and staff will be able to engage in interoperable Direct messaging and exchange of patient information with thousands of their counterparts in community hospitals and clinics in all 50 states and U.S. territories, through the use of the providers’ EHRs (electronic health records).

Officials note that the of the DirectTrust trust framework enables a single trusted “on ramp” for providers exchanging health information across a network that currently connects over 1.8 million providers using over 350 certified EHRs nationally.

DirectTrust is a seven-year-old entity created by and for participants in the Direct exchange community. DirectTrust supports both provider-to-provider and patient-to-provider exchange using the Direct message protocols.

Participants in the trust anchor bundle include health information service providers (HISPs), certificate authorities (CAs), and registration authorities (RAs) that have achieved accreditation either through a DirectTrust accreditation program.

The key value proposition of the DirectTrust accredited trust anchor bundle, officials point out, is to facilitate interoperable Direct Messaging between HISPs “in a uniform and scalable manner that is consistent with industry best practices for security and trust, thereby avoiding the need for further one-off negotiations between relying parties who are participants in the bundle.”

“Admission to the DirectTrust Accredited Trust Anchor Bundle certifies that an organization has established and upheld a superior level of trust for its stakeholders, which is a significant distinction. Kudos to VA’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards in privacy, security, and trust in identity,” said DirectTrust President and CEO Scott Stuewe.

Margaret Donahue, M.D., director of VA’s Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE) Program said in a statement, “VA Direct messaging’s participation in the DirectTrust Accredited Trust Anchor Bundle will open significant new opportunities for VA personnel to securely share Veterans’ health information through Direct messaging in every community in the country. This is a major step to increase care coordination with community (non-VA) providers who also provide care for our Veterans.”