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How HIE/DIRECT Has Changed the Health Community

Mar 09, 2015 03:33PM, Published by MED Magazine, Categories: Business, Technology



By Kathleen Christiansen 

The primary purpose of Health Information Exchange DIRECT is to help healthcare professionals to securely send messages to other providers or healthcare entities.  DIRECT Exchange Service is a secure and efficient messaging service that allows for the electronic exchange of authorizations, referrals, transmit orders and other patient care documentation between providers and reduce the time it takes to manually fax or mail.  The stakeholders who are using DIRECT include behavioral health, dental and orthodontist clinics, long term care facilities, hospitals, and ambulatory care clinics.

The sample population was 100% of the health care sites that signed up for DIRECT Exchange in South Dakota.  An electronic survey was launched October 10, 2014 through a series of notes sent to each client by Kathleen Christiansen.  Kathleen used an online program called Survey Monkey to help design the survey.  The survey was distributed to 144 clients.  Numbers were used to identify the adults who took the survey to assure anonymity/confidentiality of subjects.  38 clients completed the survey for a response rate of 26%.

The survey collected data to do the following:

  • Identify approaches and strategies used to change the health community by using DIRECT
  • Describe conditions before and after using DIRECT
  • Assess how DIRECT contributed to progress
  • Identify areas of strength and improvement since using DIRECT

DIRECT users justified the sharing of health information with other providers helped change the health community by providing timeliest, efficient, and affordable services.

HIE/DIRECT has changed the health community by minimizing the burden of transferring 


This is a graduate project submitted by Kathleen Christiansen to Dakota State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Health Informatics.  This project involves the discovering of how HIE/DIRECT has changed the health community.  The analysis of the data collected during this project met the goals of identifying approaches and strategies used to change the health community by using DIRECT. This research highlights the importance of change in technology especially in the health community. 
 patient information to other facilities by no longer using fax, phone calls, mail or courier.  The implementation of DIRECT exchange helped facilities efforts to be HIPAA compliant.  The result of this research project suggests that progress is being made in facilities that are using DIRECT in their day-to-day operations.  This project provides insight into the perceived value of HIE/DIRECT and the importance of change in technology especially in the health community.




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