In this ComputerTalk podcast we’ll talk about secure messaging and secure chat with RedSail Technologies Director of Platform Components Louie Foster. We’ll cover the state of adoption of these latest pharmacy messaging types. Much of healthcare, pharmacy included, still relies on phone and fax for communicating, but there’s a growing interest in other forms of messaging and collaboration technology. The fastest growing areas include Direct Secure Messaging, which is like email, and secure chat. Listen now to find out what these messaging tools have to offer pharmacies and where Foster sees us on the adoption curve for each.
What Is Secure Chat?
“Secure chat is similar to SMS [short message service], or your typical consumer text messaging. This can be embedded within an existing pharmacy system or EHR [electronic health record] provider app and secured to allow for clinical conversations. This enables the members of the care team to discuss a diagnosis and share PHI [protected health information] in a way that is HIPAA compliant.”
What Is Secure Messaging?
“Secure messaging is the replacement for consumer-level email and can carry structured data. It looks just like a typical email with a subject, body text, attachments, and so forth. For example, it could carry ADT [admission, discharge, transfer] data that can be consumed by the pharmacy system or an EHR application.”
More About Direct Secure Messaging
DirectTrust, a non-profit trade alliance supporting technical trust and confidence in the secure exchange of health information, DirectTrust is committed to collaboration for advancing secure communication. DirectTrust operates not only as a membership organization, but also as an ANSI-accredited standards body, a trust framework supported by policy, and an accreditor for reliable and trusted exchange across the DirectTrust network. DirectTrust describes Direct Secure Messaging as follows:
“Direct Secure Messaging, commonly referred to as Direct, is a secure communication transport mechanism for sensitive information over the open internet. While appearing like email, Direct Secure Messaging utilizes digital certificates and a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to encrypt the contents of a message, meaning only the intended recipient can decrypt the message. Today, Direct Secure Messaging utilizes the foundation of the Direct Standard™, and is a widely deployed and accessible means for communicating sensitive health information to other trusted parties. Considered a “push” interoperability mechanism because of the sender “pushing” a message to the receiver, Direct Secure Messaging is a cornerstone of facilitating interoperability between disparate health technologies and organizations.”
How Will These Messaging Types Become the Standard of Practice?
“Text messaging in the consumer world didn’t achieve critical mass until all the wireless providers got together and said, hey, we have to be able to exchange messages between our networks. In healthcare, Direct Secure Messaging applications are in wide use because we have a standard that allows for interoperability. On the other hand, secure chat is not in widespread use yet, because we have an environment where we’ve got multiple solutions out there, but none of them communicate with each other. Still, secure chat is the fastest growing communication technology right now, and once we do get the ability to message among the different competing secure chat apps, it will really take off.”
You can also learn more about Direct Secure Messaging by accessing a PDF titled “Direct Secure Messaging Basics: Q&A for Providers” at healthit.gov. Get your questions about this messaging type answered, including:
- What is a Direct address?
- Where can I get a Direct address?
- How can I find another provider’s direct address?
- What’s the role of an EHR or other software vendor?