What is Direct?

Direct is a new way to securely send health records or messages between providers.  It is the technology behind BlueButton+ and is meant to replace the fax as the standard way to move health records around the US.  

It was developed by HHS, and a required part of Promoting Interoperability (formerly Meaningful Use) -- which means that the technology is automatically in every EHR in the land.  Exchanging electronic records was once a costly or proprietary endeavor.  Now with Direct, it's simpler, more secure and more useful than just faxing records.


  • Shares the health record data (not just the image) which allows easy merging of chart data,
  • Works across all EHRs, not just a chosen few,
  • Can both transport records, and messages between providers,
  • Absolutely secure via encryption, digital signing and ID proofing,
  • HIPAA compliant and auditable,
  • Simple and cost effective for all to use.

What does Promoting Interoperability (formerly Meaningful Use) have to do with me?

Promoting Interoperability, PI, (formerly Meaningful Use, MU) is an incentive and penalty program by CMS to aid hospitals and providers to use electronic health records for better patient outcomes.  While there are many components to the program, a major part of PI is the ability of all EHRs to be able to exchange health records via Direct.

Eligible hospitals and providers are required to send transitions of care via Direct in order to comply with PI.  If you are an eligible provider, you probably already are sending records via Direct.

Non-Eligible providers, like skilled nursing facilities, are not required to use this messaging.  But, providers and hospitals in your care community would love you too!  It helps them make their numbers, and is easier and simpler than using paper or fax records.

Being part of the PI care community helps make health records easier and more efficient for hospitals, facilities, providers and patients! 


And yes, this includes EPIC, Cerner, Meditech, Seimens, GE, AthenaHealth, eClinicalWorks, McKesson, Allscripts, PracticeFusion, Optum, NEXTGEN, and hundreds of others!

Can you really exchange with any system?

We can exchange with almost any EHR.  All EHRs that are certified for Promoting Interoperability (formerly Meaningful Use) have the ability to send and receive clinical summary records via Direct.  Many other systems that aren't certified also use Direct.  So, all major and vast majority of minor EHRs can exchange records as easy as email. 

In addition, we support every common standard health system interface.  These include HL7 V2-3 messaging, IHE profiles like XCA, XDR, etc, and NwHIN specifications.  In short -- we speak a wide array of common health system protocols.  Chances are we can communicate with yours.

Where can I find more information?

Feel free to peruse the detailed knowledge base on our support site