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DirectTrust, EHNAC merge to streamline standards, security and safety support

DirectTrust, EHNAC deepen their existing partnership with a merger into a single entity to benefit security standards, interoperability.
By admin
Nov 30, 2022, 5:32 PM

DirectTrust and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) are becoming one unit in early 2023, the organizations recently announced. The two long-standing standards and accreditation organizations already have a long history of partnership and are planning to take their collaboration to the next level by incorporating EHNAC into the DirectTrust fold to boost security and interoperability initiatives.

“We’re thrilled the long-standing relationship between EHNAC and DirectTrust is reaching its full potential with this merger,” said Scott Stuewe, president and CEO of DirectTrust. “This unequivocal demonstration of our mutual dedication to facilitating trust will enable both parties to optimize their complementary strengths to create new opportunities for trust and assurance in the healthcare industry, especially in the age of TEFCA.”

“It’s exciting to bring together our accreditation and standards development focus areas, while also enhancing opportunities for DirectTrust’s membership. Our goal is to be the nation’s premier healthcare-focused accreditation, standards development and technical trust partner.”

DirectTrust was established in 2012 as a non-profit trade alliance with the goal of developing and disseminating standards for data exchange. Direct Secure Messaging has been a fundamental component of the health IT revolution as part EHR Incentive Programs. The Direct Secure Messaging standard for interoperability was a core component of achieving meaningful use.

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Since then, DirectTrust has grown to more than 100 members and has supported the exchange of more than one billion messages. It also operates several accreditation programs that certify recipients as meeting security, privacy, and compliance best practices.

DirectTrust has had a longstanding relationship with EHNAC, which makes accreditation its main mission. Founded in 1995, EHNAC offers accreditation programs for a wide variety of healthcare players, from accountable care organizations (ACOs) to practice management systems. EHNAC also serves as a HITRUST CSF Assessor.

Similar to its partner, EHNAC is designed to increase trust and provide shared standards for enabling interoperability across disparate systems in healthcare. As the care continuum draws closer together through voluntary frameworks like TEFCA and additional required regulations from CMS and the ONC, these types of standards and accreditation organizations will become even more important for convening collaborations between competitors.

More robust services, interoperability focus

The merger makes sense for both parties, as their work has closely aligned for many years. Together, they will offer more comprehensive standards development, accreditation, and certification services and launch new programs more quickly and easily, organizational leaders said.

“This merger of expertise, resources, and technology leverages EHNAC’s accreditation programs as a ‘recognized security framework’ and is an inevitable culmination of the years our organizations have spent ensuring stakeholder trust,” said EHNAC’s Executive Director and CEO Lee Barrett.

“By combining with the membership, standards development, technical trust and accreditation capabilities of DirectTrust, we’ll be able to further support DirectTrust members, EHNAC-accredited organizations, and the industry as a whole to navigate the privacy and security hurdles that continue to afflict healthcare. Additionally, we’ll be able to continue our combined focus on interoperability initiatives to assist the healthcare ecosystem meet industry initiative timelines.”

Initially, DirectTrust and EHNAC memberships and accreditations will remain separate and existing accreditation and certifications will stay valid after the merger.  The two groups are holding a public information session on December 9 to provide more information for industry stakeholders and offer additional details about the future of the newly combined organization.

Jennifer Bresnick is a journalist and freelance content creator with a decade of experience in the health IT industry. Her work has focused on leveraging innovative technology tools to create value, improve health equity, and achieve the promises of the learning health system.

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