I love it when a plan comes together. What started in a pretty featureless meeting room in 2009 is finally coming to fruition in the real world, as Direct messaging makes its way into the hands of real providers and real patients. This is the fun part … as use cases and benefits start to pop up everywhere you look.
First of all --- ANY provider can sign up online to get a California Direct address. They can use the address “standalone” using the very capable Mirth Mail web interface, or connect it up to their EHR if their vendor supports that.
The really sweet thing here is that, thanks to funding from California Health eQuality … the first 1,000 accounts given to providers in rural California are completely FREE. So for a huge number of California providers, there is now no cost whatsoever to use Direct. Get ready to dump that fax machine, baby!
OK, but what about the patients? No problem --- California Direct is already set up to exchange with HealthVault and other PHRs. Meaningful use support? Yes indeed. If you are a California patient and want a copy of your data in HealthVault, ask your doc to send it to you using California Direct. And don’t take “no” for an answer … print out a copy of this info sheet and write “californiadirect.org” at the top!
But wait, there’s more.
As a patient, you can send information TO your provider as well --- including data that could be useful to your visit. Say you’re tracking your blood pressure and have a follow-up with your doctor to see if that new exercise and diet program is doing the trick. Wouldn’t it be nice if she could see that information in her EHR? Well check this out:
On the left is the interface in HealthVault to attach your health information to an outgoing message. You pick the types you want, a date range if desired, and we automatically create the attachments you see on the right side:
- A machine-readable, structured C/CDA file that can be automatically imported into most EHRs,
- A human-readable and printable HTML version of the same information, and
- A request.txt file that gives the recipient information on the source/provenance of the data.
THIS IS A MOONSHOT, PEOPLE.
As a patient you can use any HealthVault-connected device, one of our mobile apps or just the web --- you choose how to track. And any provider with a California Direct address can receive that information ready for import into their EHR. Seriously. This is really doable, today.
So……… start doing it!