The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) announced Tuesday that it will partner with DirectTrust.org to create a national accreditation program for health information service providers (HISPs).
Together, officials from DirectTrust.org – which was formed by members within the Direct Project (and was formerly known as the Direct ‘Rules of the Road’ Workgroup) – and EHNAC, a self-governing standards development organization, say their program will accredit health information “trusted agent” service providers, including HISPs, certificate authorities (CAs) and registration authorities (RAs).
Their impetus, officials say, comes from growth of electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges and programs such as meaningful use, which drive interoperability and data sharing among healthcare stakeholders. Adoption of the Direct standard has become an EHR requirement for Stages 2 and 3 of the meaningful use incentive program.
“The privacy and security of protected health information are critical to the practice of medicine,” says Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC. “This accreditation will guarantee that organizations participating in Direct Project initiatives establish and uphold a superior level of trust for their stakeholders.”
Formal accreditation will launch in early 2013, but DirectTrust.org has already begun a testing and recognition program through which a number of HISPs and CAs have self-attested, officials say. This work will be integrated into the joint EHNAC/DirectTrust.org program.
“Healthcare professionals have full plates in today’s healthcare environment,” says David C. Kibbe, MD, president and CEO of DirectTrust.org. “They are deeply committed to fulfilling their mission of providing quality care amidst constantly changing regulations. We’re confident this accreditation will remove one layer of concern, by assuring that standards are upheld by the security and trust agents upon whom Direct users depend for standards based inter-vendor communications.”