DirectTrust is pleased to announce the DirectTrust Standards Trusted Instant Messaging Plus (TIM+) Consensus Body has published a draft Standard for testing

What is TIM+?

TIM+ is an available draft for trial use industry Standard developed by DirectTrust Standards, a division of DirectTrust.

The focus of TIM+  is “instant” communication Use Cases, involving cross-organization or cross-vendor secure healthcare communication and transport. The “plus” of TIM+ addresses additional capabilities such as file transfer, voice, and video.  

The draft Standard is based on existing time-tested standards (XMPP, digital certificates), and assembled in a way appropriate for use in healthcare.  While the standard is not bound to DirectTrust policy, this draft Standard can certainly take advantage of the large number of DirectTrust participants. 

Most importantly, TIM+ takes advantage of common security and trust policy frameworks to ensure accountability of all who participate, while also creating opportunity to rapidly and safely expand participation.  

Why do we need TIM+?

Given the reality of our current environment fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s more important than ever to enable instant virtual collaboration and dialogue related to healthcare delivery and wellness activity, while also:

  • Ensuring there are no surprises in the Terms of Use by enforcing common policy, including HIPAA privacy and security protections regularly monitored and used by all. 
  • Keeping participants within familiar workflows by breaking down current enterprise communication barriers to increase efficiency and satisfaction during care coordination.
  • Inviting interactions between a growing set of known, trusted and vetted entities

TIM+ is not meant to replace existing secure methods and offerings available today, rather it’s meant to complement where instant communication is desired beyond a given organization, enterprise, or vendor. In that respect, it’s very similar to the value Direct Secure Messaging brings to healthcare in eliminating those cross-organization and cross-vendor boundaries.

What are the circumstances in which someone would use TIM+?

Analogous to use of email versus instant messaging today, TIM+ addresses the more time-sensitive communication and collaboration needs across organizations, enterprises or vendors.  It’s unlimited! 

Some of the possible Use Cases for TIM+ include the following:

  • Treatment
    • EMT to ER in route
    • Acute to SNF coordination post-discharge
    • Patient/Provider/Family Member collaboration
  • Payment
    • Gaps in care questions between provider support staff and payers
    • Patient billing question resolution with payer representatives
  • Operations
    • Disparate hospital or vendor IT collaboration and troubleshooting data and communication issues

How might TIM+ benefit patients?

Similar to existing communication platforms, TIM+ creates an opportunity for ease of collaboration with caregivers and family members alike, with the added layer of confidence only derived from a set of transparent policies and measurements to ensure consistent treatment of patient privacy and security aspects during those interactions and for data being exchanged.

What’s the latest on TIM+ Standards effort?

The TIM+ standard is currently available as a draft for trial use and can be downloaded today from the DirectTrust website.

It includes the basics, such as handling one-on-one and group instant message conversations, file transfers, scalable distribution of common privacy and security policy, and lays the groundwork for seamless transition to voice and video capabilities to support telehealth functionality in future iterations of the standard.

How would someone get involved in testing TIM+?

There are multiple ways to get involved, including the following:

For more information, reach out to us at Standards@DirectTrust.org.