Launched in March 2010 as a part of the Nationwide Health Information Network (“NwHIN”), the Direct Project was created to specify a simple, secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet, enabling interoperable, secure messaging in the healthcare industry (“Industry”). Those Direct Project specifications and protocols are now known as the Direct standard, which meets a federal requirement for Meaningful Use Stage 2 as laid out by ONC and CMS in recently promulgated regulations and rules; “Directed exchange” is the term used for this secure communication. .
For health care professionals, patients, and others to take advantage of Directed exchange of health information, Health Information Service Providers (HISP’s), must coordinate the roles of Certificate Authorities (CA’s), and Registration Authorities (RA’s), while carrying out the responsibility for managing the intricate parts of the deployment of digital certificates and of managing public and private keys, which are necessary for Directed exchange subscribers to be assured of consistent privacy, security, and trust. Together, HISPs, CAs, and RAs are known as Trust Agents for the deployment and adoption of Directed exchange.
As of April 4, 2013 ONC announced that the award to DirectTrust.org/EHNAC for the promulgation an launch the national accreditation program for HISP’s, CA’s and RA’s and will work collaboratively with the organization to achieve compliance and adoption.
The EHNAC/DirectTrust HISP, CA, or RA Accreditation Program:
We recognize the unique business and technical requirements of this niche and have developed three distinct accreditation programs that interested stakeholders can make application to pursue. They are:
DTAAP HISP A Health Information Service Provider (HISP) is an organization that provides services on the Internet to facilitate use of Direct. A HISP is a logical concept that encompasses certain services that are required for Direct-mediated exchange, such as the management of trust between senders and receivers. It may be a separate business or technical entity from the sender or receiver, depending on the deployment option chosen by the implementation. A user typically agrees to allow the HISP to maintain a digital certificate on his/her/its behalf. Using this digital certificate, the HISP can securely send or receive Direct messages for the entity. The user initiates outgoing messages, and accesses incoming messages, through facilities provided by the HISP (often through a secure e-mail portal or client).
DTAAP CA An authority trusted by one or more users to create and assign certificates. The CA performs the following general functions: 1) Binds identities to cryptographic keys; 2) Creates and signs certificates; 3) Distributes certificates appropriately; 4) Revokes certificates; 5) Distributes certificate status information in the form of Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs) or other mechanisms and; 6) Provides a repository where certificates and certificate status information is stored and made available (if applicable).
DTAAP RA An entity whose primary function is to reliably authenticate identities of individuals, organizations, representatives of organizations and their services, and administrators of services and devices. They are responsible for identification and authentication of certificate subjects. RA’s evaluate and either approve or reject subscriber certificate management transactions (including certificate requests, renewal, and re-key requests, and revocation requests).
* A HISP must complete the CA and RA sections of the self-assessment (SA) however they are designated as a HISP only if they don't provide their own CA and RA services. The CA and RA, if contracted by the HISP, and not owned, must either already be EHNAC accredited or must be required to have a site visit/audit.
To begin the application process for the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program (DTAAP), please complete the pre-application form through our Web Site. The draft Criteria is located on the Criteria Page.