DirectTrust community members recognize securely communicating clinical data between health organizations is essential for providing the best care for the patient. Direct Secure Messaging provides one of the most widespread and interoperable means for this type of exchange. An easy to navigate and accurate provider Directory is critical to facilitating this timely and important exchange, yet creating and maintaining a Directory that instills user confidence at this scale is difficult, and requires coordinated improvement efforts from the entire community, including you! 

Whether you are a healthcare provider organization, EHR or technology vendor, or HISP, an effective Directory can improve your customer’s satisfaction and boost your own commercial reputation through the improved use and useability of your Direct workflow solutions.

We have heard the community voice opportunities for improvement of the current Directory. It is DirectTrust’s mission to help supply the necessary tools for valuable exchange. The DirectTrust Directory Improvement Initiative represents a long-term commitment to continuous improvement, validation, and verification of the quality of information maintained in its Directory. This is not a “couple-day fix”. It’s a long-term and ongoing commitment to creating and maintaining a high-quality national Directory asset that helps to expand the use of Direct Secure Messaging and make it a more valuable data transport option within the national healthcare ecosystem.

The Directory Improvement Initiative (DII) is composed of three Eras with specific goals that will be achieved through focused Continuous Improvement Cycles.

  • Era 1: Improve Directory Confidence and Accuracy by:
    • Launching a community-wide communication and education campaign designed to reveal content accuracy problems and provide clear guidance on how to correct the problems.
  • Era 2: Increase Directory Accessibility and Use by:
    • Offering a new FHIR-based API which can be adopted by HISPs to improve searching of the Directory information.
  • Era 3: Enhance Directory Updatability  and Sustainability by:
    • Offering a new Directory entry updating API designed to make it easier to correct Directory entries in real-time or batch-mode.

By the conclusion of this initiative, Directory contributors can expect significantly enhanced record validation and reporting capabilities, and FHIR-based API access supporting queries and updates. However, the hope is that this year’s DII will foster an ongoing attention to data quality for years to come.

To realize the goal of an easy to navigate and accurate provider Directory for better patient care, we need your help. Willing participants at all levels of the Directory creation chain (healthcare provider organizations → EHR or Technology Vendors → HISPs) can help us realize our mission of delivering a more up-to-date and accurate Directory by first identifying your Directory Stewards – a person at your organization responsible for the contents of Directory entries. Directory Stewards will be plugged into the initiative to receive important announcements and Best Practice guidance that helps organizations submit better Directory information. 

Our hope is that better tools coupled with ongoing feedback from organizations and Directory Stewards will improve confidence in the DirectTrust Directory as a source of accurate information that improves usability and sustainability of the Directory as a valuable information exchange accelerator. Will you join us?

Sign up for updates on the Directory Improvement Initiative at

This post was contributed by Alex Young.