EAST LANSING — Today the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services announced an agreement with leading high-assurance digital certificate provider DigiCert and health information services provider Nitor Group to use DigiCert’s federally bridged certificates for secure interstate sharing of electronic health information.
This project, one of the first of its kind in the United States, supports MiHIN’s mission to improve health care outcomes for Michigan residents by providing trusted means by which patients, providers and insurers can securely exchange private medical records across state boundaries. The announcement also serves as a model of an effective public-private relationship to other states working to implement and carry out the so-called Meaningful Use levels of electronic medical records required by federal health care law.
The new solution allows MiHIN to issue federally bridged digital certificates from DigiCert to efficiently and securely transfer encrypted electronic health records of Michigan residents between accredited health care providers and insurers with respect to Michigan residents wherever they may receive treatment. This capability significantly shortens the time required to receive critical electronic records at the point of care and improve patient outcomes while also lowering costs. DigiCert is the first publicly trusted Certificate Authority to issue certificates that meet the Direct protocols for health information exchange and are cross-certified with the Federal Bridge Certification Authority.
MiHIN Chief Security Officer Brian Seggie commented, “With DigiCert’s new federally bridged security certificates MiHIN is now able to go into full production with secure exchange of patient health information between Michigan and our five border states, our ‘snowbird’ states in warmer climes, and other states that Michigan residents frequently visit where they sometimes receive treatment. In some sense, this is as exciting as building the interstate highway system, but for the timely and secure exchange of information between states that will improve patient outcomes and in some cases, potentially save lives.”
Said MiHIN Senior Integration and Design Architect Jeff Shaw: “Using the Direct secure message technology and these new enhanced certifications allows MiHIN to transport health information while ensuring that the information remains securely encrypted between providers in Michigan and in other states. Using federally bridged certificates also allows exchange with federal agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control for public health issues and the Veterans Health Administration to ensure that those who served our country receive the best care possible. This secure means of sharing health information across state lines gives health professionals across the nation an easy-to-use platform that can also scale upwards to grow as health information sharing evolves.”
The Direct Project was initiated in early 2010 under the direction of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the ONC with the goal of benefitting patients and providers by improving the transport of health information, making it faster, more secure and less expensive. The Direct Project establishes scalable standards and documentation to support simple scenarios of pushing data from point-to-point in a trusted way that improves interoperability by providing rules-based methods of interstate and interagency sharing. It also improves healthcare outcomes by moving this type of information sharing away from traditional mail and fax methods.
Said David C. Kibbe, M.D., president and CEO of DirectTrust, a nonprofit trade allilance created for Direct community participants: “The public-private collaboration that this program represents is a model for the way in which Directed exchange should bring standards based, inter-vendor and cross boundary electronic health information exchange to healthcare providers and patients alike in the U.S. Nitor and DigiCert will work with MiHIN to make Directed exchange easy, affordable, and ubiquitous, while making sure that the security and trust-in-identity the public demands is firmly in place.”
Nitor Group, a Direct-qualified HISP, facilitated this agreement. The company looks forward to its continued collaboration with DirectTrust and DigiCert to advance the interoperability and efficiency of state HIE’s.
Doug Hill, a partner with the Nitor Group stated, “MiHIN’s agreements with Nitor Group and DigiCert show a dedication to security and privacy which are critical to the increased electronic exchange of health information.”