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DIRECT / Pennsylvania eHealth Collaborative


Do I need an EHR program to use DIRECT?
No. Providers simply need access to the Internet with no additional in-house technology or resources required. However, doctors who do use EHR in their offices can attach structured data from EHRs to a DIRECT message. Doctors with­out EHRs can simply include health information in the body of the DIRECT message or attach a file containing the health information, like a text or PDF document.

Do I have to apply for the DIRECT grant?
No. Certified HISPs apply for the grants to pro­vide DIRECT to providers. There will be no pa­perwork related to the grant for providers; they will only have a contract with a HISP to receive basic DIRECT Messaging for a year at no cost.

Will I be able to sign up for DIRECT after October 31?
Yes. DIRECT will be available after the grant incentive program ends on October 31. The grant program subsidizes early adopters for a year. After October 31, DIRECT will be available for a fee.

Are there any services for which a HISP could charge?
Yes. Some HISPs may offer and charge for ad­ditional services, like EHR programs, outside of basic DIRECT Messaging. It is important to re­view the "How to Choose a HISP Primer" on the PAeHC website for a list of questions to ask be­fore choosing a HISP. Questions include: "What base services provided by a HISP?"; "What services are included in the subsidized first year?"; and "Will I be able to customize the service to better meet my organization's needs, and what will the cost of customiza­tion be?"

Who can I communicate with using DIRECT?
Providers who contract with a HISP will ob­tain a DIRECT e-mail address and digital certificate, and can communicate with any­one who also has a DIRECT e-mail address and digital certificate. When you sign up for DIRECT, you will have access to e-mail addresses for other DIRECT providers, plus a mechanism to invite other providers in your referral network to use DIRECT. To use DIRECT to its fullest extent, it is important to en­courage those with whom you have a com­munications relationship -- optometrists and other health care professionals -- to also sign up for DIRECT.

How do I find a certified, commonwealth-approved HISP?
A list of certified HISPs and important questions to ask HISPs can be found in the "How to Choose a HISP Primer" on the PAeHC's website.

How do I sign up for DIRECT?
Visit the PAeHC DIRECT website. Read the "DIRECT Info Sheet for Providers" document; download the "How to Choose a HISP Primer" for a list of HISPs and ques­tions; contact the certified HISPs and pick one that best fits your needs; and contract with your chosen HISP for a one-year sub­scription to DIRECT at no cost. Since POA has two members on PAeHC committees, we also ask that you contact POA  at Charlie@poaeyes.or or (717) 233-6455 with your experience so that we can provide feedback to PAeHC.