DataMotion, DigiCert Collaborate to Simplify Health Care Data Exchange

By deploying DigiCert's dual-mode data certification, DataMotion will make secure messaging quicker through the federal government's Direct Project data-transfer protocol.

DataMotion, a unified data delivery company, has formed a partnership with DigiCert, an enterprise security vendor, to allow health care organizations to exchange data in a simpler way using the federal Direct Project data-transfer protocol.

The Direct Project was created by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to provide a simple, scalable way for EHR vendors and health care organizations to send encrypted health data over the Internet. It uses secure messaging as a more efficient alternative to faxing.

By DataMotion's messaging platform incorporating DigiCert's dual-mode Direct Med Certificate Authority (Direct Med CA) bundle of certificates, doctors' practices and hospitals can more securely transmit health data.

"We're providing the identity and certificate services for DataMotion to be able to operate the Direct Project services with their customers," Scott Rea, DigiCert’s vice president of government/education relations and senior PKI architect, told eWEEK.

The Direct Med CA certificate bundle allows health care providers to safely exchange data in both the commercial and federal sectors, according to Rea.

Without a dual-mode framework, exchange of patient data would be slower between commercial and federal health care organizations due to separate data-transfer guidelines, Bob Janacek, DataMotion's co-founder and chief technology officer, told eWEEK.

"It's all about getting data to move securely to where it needs to go to help the patient and remove the barriers that prevented that data from flowing in the past," Janacek said.

A single certification authority such as DigiCert's Direct Med CA allows for patient data to be sent through instantaneous connections, Rea said.

The certificate bundle enables a rural hospital to easily exchange patient data with an anchor hospital in a city, Janacek noted.

DataMotion and DigiCert announced their partnership on June 12.

By incorporating the DigiCert dual-mode data certification into its data-delivery platforms, DataMotion also allows health care providers to meet Stage 2 meaningful-use guidelines. Under Stage 2, software companies must incorporate the Direct Project functionality into the interface of EHR applications and allow doctors to share continuity-of-care documents using the protocol, Janacek said.

EHR software incorporates a Direct Project button that allows doctors to insert an address to submit a document. A Direct address is similar to an email address, Janacek noted.

"It's baking all that into a usable interface for the provider so it's as easy to exchange Direct messages as it is standard email," Janacek explained. "That's really what the combination of the partnership of DigiMotion and DigiCert is aiming to do."

Ordinary Webmail lacks the security protocols health care providers need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The Direct Med CA incorporates a trust bundle from DirectTrust, the nonprofit trade association that works on a common framework for the Direct Project data exchange protocol.

"The trust bundle is one of the things that facilitates trust between two entities that are going to exchange messages," said Rea, while noting that it's part of the full implementation of the Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) protocol.

DigiCert also provides trust anchors in 99.5 percent of Web browsers, Rea said. The trust anchors consist of a green bar or a lock in the browser, he said.