The Direct Project is creating a low-cost, practical, secure mechanism for exchanging health information over the Internet. Direct makes it possible for providers to securely email information to other trusted providers, such as specialists, pharmacies, and laboratories. The mechanism is:
- Simple. Connects participants by allowing them to securely transmit messages in an encrypted manner.
- Secure. Makes it easy for participants to verify that messages are complete and not tampered with en route.
- Scalable. Achieves Internet scale without the need for a central network authority to provide sophisticated services.
- Standards-based. Built on well-established Internet standards, commonly used for secure email communication.
The Direct Project doesn't replace other ways of exchanging information electronically. It augments them. It does replace slow, inconvenient, expensive methods of exchange (such as paper and faxes), providing a path to more advanced interoperability.
Direct Project standards and specifications are the result of an open, collaborative process involving public and private stakeholders. Pilots are underway in 2011.