During this week’s NHIN (National Health Information Network) University webinar, The Direct Project: Where we are today, Arien Malec, the project’s coordinator, announced the completion of version 1.0 of its open source software, along with plans to launch seven real-world pilot programs across the country to test it. There are two reference implementations available, one based on Java and one based on C# .NET. He also announced that the project has specifications that are very close to reaching the version 1.0 state.
The Direct Project — formerly known as NHIN Direct — was established to create a set of standards, services and policies that would enable secure, Internet-based, point-to-point messaging among health care providers. One of the project’s major goals was to provide an open source, BSD-licensed software stack that can be incorporated into any software. Malec noted that they are seeing a lot of activity in deployment of the stack. The design process for the Direct Project has been completely open and transparent. All the information related to the software’s development can be found on the project’s wiki.
Feedback from the pilot tests of the software will be shared with the Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC), the Health IT Standards Committee (HITSC) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and will help to determine if the software is ready for widespread adoption.
A number of vendors have indicated they will incorporate the Direct Project software and specifications into their products, with some announcing broad, nationwide connection capabilities, Malec said. The project hopes to expand the pilot testing in 2011, and is shooting for large-scale deployment in 2012 to 2013.