Mass HIway Features Overview

The Mass HIway provides a secure HIE connection between organizations that provide care to the same patients. This connection can be used to exchange healthcare information and coordinate care via Direct Messaging. The HIway can be deployed in all provider settings regardless of affiliations, location, or differences in EHR technology. The key features of the Mass HIway Direct Messaging are highlighted below:

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Identity & Access Management

Identity verification and confirming the legitimate need to use an HIE network are core to the trusted exchange of health information. HIway 2.0's HISP, Orion Health, has been accredited by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) to join the network of DirectTrust certified HISPs.

Before healthcare organizations can connect to the DirectTrust network they must go through a certification process that verifies their identity to ensure the security of the network.

All provider organizations that connect to the HIway must go through this Identity Proofing process before they gain secure access to the network. The Identity Proofing is executed by DigiCert, a certification authority. Upon successful completion, Digicert will issue a key encipherment and digital signature certificates to the provider organization.



Secure Direct Messaging from an EHR

The purpose of the Mass HIway is to securely exchange Direct Messages between healthcare providers who need to exchange patient health information. The HIway is based on the Direct standard of transport to electronically exchange health information across computer networks.

If you have an EHR with HIE capabilities, you can connect the Mass HIway directly to your EHR, provided your EHR vendor supports the HIway connection.

This direct connection to the Mass HIway will enable you to exchange health information with other care providers by sending or receiving the information from within your EHR, without having to export and import the health information from your EHR.

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Secure Direct Messaging via Webmail

If you don’t have an EHR, or your EHR doesn’t support HIE, you can sign up for the Mass HIway’s standalone secure webmail service.

This service allows users to exchange Direct Messages using webmail capabilities, which include:
1) securely sending/receiving Direct messages with attachments, and
2) viewing CDA attachments in the browser.

Webmail makes the health information accessible to other providers, but it will require you to export and import the information from your EHR.

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Message Transformation

To expand the network, the HIway supports different routing protocols that are Direct Messaging compliant, such as SMPT and XRD. To make the various protocols work, the Direct Messages must be transformed to match the protocols used by the sender versus the receiver.

The Mass HIway includes a service that transforms the Direct messages from one protocol to another. For example, this service facilitates the viewing of messages originated as secure SMPT versus XDR.

This capability increases the compatibility of messages coming from different systems. As the transformation happens behind the scenes, it is transparent to the user of the Mass HIway.



Provider Directory 2.0

To send a Direct message, you need to address the message to an intended recipient. To get the Direct address of a recipient, you could contact the recipient, but that would be quite labor intensive. A better alternative is to use the HIway’s Provider Directory (PD 2.0) to lookup the recipient’s Direct address online. PD 2.0 lists all participants that are connected to the DirectTrust network.

The PD 2.0 directory matches organizations connected to the network to the participants within those organizations. Participants may be individuals listed by name or role. For example, Hospital A may have 30 physicians listed by name in the directory. Alternatively, Hospital B may have 100 physicians, but may opt to only list a general “Medical Records” address in the directory. How participants are listed should match the preferred processing of the inbound messages.

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Public Registry Interfaces via the Clinical Gateway

The Mass HIway enables the reporting of public health information to the Department of Public Health (DPH) registries, including the registries for Immunizations, Syndromic Surveillance, Children's Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), Cancer and Opioid Treatment.

For instance, through the HIway, providers can send Immunization messages from an EHR to MIIS, the Massachusetts Immunization Information System, as required for the Promoting Interoperability Programs (Meaningful Use and MIPS).

While the DPH requires a Mass HIway connection for public health reporting, providers can either connect to the Mass HIway directly, or they can use a HISP that is connected to the Mass HIway. In either case, they can report to the public registries electronically.