Direct Messaging Services

Direct Messaging Services from The Mass HIway offers the infrastructure to support provider-directed exchange, or “push”, of health information from one provider to another. Direct Messaging creates a “trust fabric”- achieved through a set of technical security tools, approaches, and best practices; and legal policies to which all participants must agree. The Mass HIway trust fabric ensures:

  • Security & Authentication: Messages are encrypted and are readable only by the intended receiver. Even if a secure message is intercepted, it cannot be decrypted or read.
  • Privacy: Policies and procedures for use of The Mass HIway are outlined in the participation agreement. Participants must obtain patient consent to “opt in” to having their information sent over The Mass HIway.

Direct Messaging supports basic information exchange between clinicians, public health, and stand-alone registries. Use of The Mass HIway for this basic exchange requires patient permission that participating organizations manage directly with their patients. Direct Messaging can also help providers achieve Meaningful Use through the exchange of care summary records, referrals, discharge summaries and other clinical documents. It can be used by any participating provider regardless of current technology through:

  • An EHR system that incorporates the Direct standards can link to The Mass HIway.
  • A preconfigured LAND that can be incorporated into the Participant's system.
  • A webmail service if they do not have an EHR or LAND capable system.

Services include

Identity & Access Management: Verifying you are who you say you are, and confirming your need to utilize The Mass HIway are foundational elements to the trusted exchange of health information. A first step in that process is to sign a participation agreement for access to The Mass HIway. Once received The Mass HIway Operations team will verify your identity as required as a Registration Authority.

Certificate Management: The Mass HIway maintains a Public Key Infrastructure to issue and manage digital certificates. These certificates support trusted exchange by authenticating senders and receivers.

Secure Messaging: A core element to The Mass HIway is the exchange of secure messages. The Mass HIway has adopted the Direct Project’s protocol for directed exchange using either secure SMTP routing or XDR document exchange. Additionally, you may opt for our secure webmail service, a hosted email service that includes a continuity of care document (CCD) reader.

Webmail Key Features & Functions

  • The ability to easily send encrypted messages.
  • Standard webmail capabilities- including secure send/receive of messages and attachments and viewing clinical document architecture (CDA) attachments in the browser.
  • Focus on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 recommendations for making web content more accessible.
  • Messages can only be sent to, and received by, Mass HIway participants

Message Transformation: Given the different routing protocols enabled via The Mass HIway, it’s important that messages can be transformed from one protocol to another. This service facilitates the viewing of messages originated as, for example secure SMTP, versus XDR.

Mass HIway Provider Directory: The Provider Directory serves as the master database of addresses for all users of The Mass HIway, clinical or administrative and guarantees reliable addressing of electronic healthcare transactions.  The HIway Directory groups individual users under their participating organization. Participants may be individuals by name or by role. As an example, Community Hospital A may have 30 physicians all of whom may be listed by name in the Directory. Alternatively, Acute Care Hospital B may have 100 physicians, but opt to only list the Medical Records Department in the Directory. Individuals connected to more than one participating organization will be entered in the HIway Directory for each organization. How Participants are listed should match the preferred processing of inbound messages. The Directory entry currently is accomplished via a bulk upload of a spreadsheet of participants at the time of enrollment.

Provider Directory Look-up Services: A pre-requisite to sending messages is to address the message to an intended recipient. To locate that address, you may contact the recipient directly and manually acquire their address, or you may use the online lookup service to locate the recipient’s Direct address as needed. Look-up services are powered by the HIway Directory, so participants must provide detailed information for upload into the Directory during enrollment and onboarding.

Registry Interfaces via the Clinical Gateway: The Mass HIway enables the electronic submission of reporting for public health registries to improve public health research, intervention, and program development. This allows for easier compliance with applicable state laws and can also help providers earn incentives in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. For more on Public Health Reporting, click here.