To improve the way medical records are shared across networks, clinicians who have experience with Direct, one of the nation's most widely used messaging systems, are asking electronic health record vendors and health IT companies to introduce more user-friendly features.
The clinicians were surveyed by DirectTrust, a not-for-profit that establishes and maintains the Direct security framework for more than 350 EHRs—over 80% of the EHR market—at more than 70,000 healthcare organizations. The organization talked with clinicians about ways to boost interoperability.
In the white paper, DirectTrust's group of clinicians ranked their recommendations urgent, highly desired or for future development.
Among features marked as urgent are the ability to send messages in real time rather than in batches, which would allow for quicker and more efficient follow-up care; the use of standardized vocabularies when discussing medications, problems, allergies, immunizations and procedures; and the ability for health IT systems to handle various kinds of content, including Word files and PDFs, as attachments.
Highly desired items include features borrowed from email, such as the ability to send a message to multiple people using “to” and “cc” fields and notifications if messages can't be delivered to their intended recipients.
A feature recommended for future development is the standardization of vocabulary beyond the categories mentioned in the urgent recommendation. Read receipts were also recommended for future development.
The recommendations will be given to EHR vendors.
Dr. David Kibbe, CEO of DirectTrust, said he's already received feedback from Epic Systems Corp. and Nextgen, and he's hopeful that other vendors will respond.