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  • June 27 2013

    As health care in the United States continues to digitize, we’re seeing a shift in the way people perceive their role in their own health and care. Accurate information about diseases and conditions are available at the click of a mouse (or the tap of a touchscreen), while people, as paper charts increasingly become a relic of a bygone era, have the ability to access information about their own care. But, work remains to enable different aspects of a person’s engagement.

    It’s with that in mind that I’m pleased to say that Cerner is announcing its support of and participation in Blue Button + (formerly known as the Automate Blue Button Plus Initiative or ABBI), a voluntary group of personal health service providers that are working together to accelerate patient engagement in support of better health.

    What does this mean? Well, in support of people’s desire to control and manage their own health information, regardless of the source, Cerner clients can now leverage Cerner Direct to facilitate secure delivery of information to any personal health record participating in Blue Button +. This includes sending automated reminders to persons within communities managing specific health conditions or age/gender-specific check-ups. Cerner Direct also enables the secure delivery of summary of care and instructions to individuals following a health care visit.

    As you may have guessed, Cerner Direct utilizes national Direct standards, ensuring the widest opportunity for secure communication across different service providers. Our support for the Direct Project has been well-documented (if you’re curious to learn more about the Direct Project, check out my colleague Greg Meyer’s excellent post series – Greg is one of the major code contributors to the Direct Project). Cerner was the first, and among a growing list of companies in the industry, to obtain full accreditation from the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program (DTAAP) offered in partnership by DirectTrust and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), further highlighting our commitment to uphold industry-established best practices for privacy and security, and fostering confidence for continued innovation around broad use of these national Direct standards.

    The primary goal we have for our clients is to help create a trusted, reliable group of participants with which to securely exchange health care information using Direct protocols over the open internet, helping them reduce their liabilities by creating an efficient, secure method of communication based on best practices. Without a consistent industry ‘measuring stick’ like DTAAP, senders of information have no other way to evaluate whether recipients and their respective technologies are holding themselves accountable to these same privacy and security standards.

    Cerner Direct is yet another example of how we’re building useful and practical functions on top of a growing national network infrastructure capable of supporting simple and secure electronic health information exchange. It’s another step towards replacing the cumbersome fax, phone and paper methods occurring today, with the bonus of supporting the upcoming Stage 2 Meaningful Use obligations facing our clients.

    Andy is a director at Cerner focused on the area of interoperability. He’s responsible for the strategy and use of the Cerner Direct HISP solution and remains actively engaged in developing best practices and standards for interoperability across the health care industry.  Andy is a founding and active Board member of DirectTrust and has previously served as their Chair of the Security & Trust Compliance Workgroup. 

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