How to obtain Direct Messaging Addresses to meet the Meaningful Use Health Information Exchange (HIE) Objective 5

If you’re participating in Meaningful Use, you may be familiar with the difficulty involved with meeting Objective 5: Health Information Exchange. One of the greatest challenges with meeting the objective is to identify and set up your list of “verified recipients.”

Who are verified recipients?

Verified recipients are providers capable of receiving a secure referral and patient record attachment in electronic format. These are the recipients that will give you numerator credit for Meaningful Use Objective 5 when you send electronic referrals to them. eFax and email referrals do not give you numerator credit for Objective 5.

In your Practice Fusion EHR, verified recipients are either:

  • A verified provider in the Practice Fusion network, indicated by “Practice Fusion” beside their name.
  • A provider who set up Direct Messaging in their EHR and who have their Direct Address added in their Practice Fusion referral contact record.

To date, there isn’t a central repository you can access of your colleague’s Direct Addresses, which therefore requires you to contact your colleagues and ask for their Direct Addresses.

If you’re getting ready to call the practices you most frequently refer patients to but aren’t sure how to ask for their Direct Addresses, here are some tips:

State your purpose

Before you ask for your colleague’s Direct Address, providing context can clear the air of any confusion. Explain that you are trying to meet Objective 5 of Meaningful Use and send secure electronic referrals to their practice, and that this information will help your provider meet Meaningful Use.

Know what you’re looking for

You can think of Direct Messaging like secure email built in to EHRs — a provider’s Direct Address will even look like an email address. For example, Direct Addresses for Practice Fusion providers take on the format of

Thus, your colleague’s Direct Address will follow a similar form, likely containing the word “direct” in the domain.

If they give you an ordinary gmail address, that is probably not their Direct Address.

Ask for someone who will know this information

You are asking for a specific piece of information for a specific government incentive program, so the receptionist who answers the phone will unlikely have this information. Don’t be afraid to ask for the office manager or the provider – you have relationships with these practices. Try asking for the person who is familiar with Meaningful Use, or the Referral Coordinator.

Ask what EHR they use

If you can identify that your colleague uses an EHR vendor in the below lists, they should be able to provide you a Direct address.

Your referral contacts may need to sign up for Direct messaging within their EHRs. This is also required for Practice Fusion providers to receive Direct Addresses.

Align on language

Direct Addresses may very well be called something else in your colleague’s EHR. If you sense confusion on the other end, take a step back and ask if they send secure electronic referrals from their EHR to their colleagues. And if so, how do they do it? Do they collect some sort of identifier from that person? Does it look like an email address? If so, which one do they give out?

Some buzz words you can try other than Direct Messaging are ‘electronic referrals’ or ‘secure messaging.’ If you can align on terminology, you’ll have much easier time getting the information you need from your colleagues’ practices.

Find out more about meeting Objective 5 and Health Information Exchange

You can learn more about Objective 5 and how Practice Fusion’s EHR can help you fulfill its requirements by reading our Knowledgebase guide »