Skip to Main Content


  1. Governor

ILHIE Direct - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 


What is the ILHIE Direct Secure Messaging Solution?

ILHIE Direct is an encrypted, HIPAA compliant messaging service that supports secure, electronic communication between physicians and other health care providers, as well as office staff who deal directly with patient care. This new service is the first being offered by the statewide Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE).

How Much Does ILHIE Direct Cost?

Click here to visit the ILHIE Direct pricing page. There are three pricing tiers based on the number of mailboxes you purchase. The more mailboxes you buy, the more money you save. 

With Whom Can I Exchange ILHIE Direct Messages?

ILHIE Direct messages can be exchanged between two providers with ILHIE Direct addresses. ILHIE encourages you to identify a provider or providers you frequently communicate and exchange patient information with, and if they're not already on ILHIE Direct, forward them the website address ( and encourage them to register. If needed, ILHIE can assist you in finding an ILHIE Direct partner which whom to exchange. 

How Do I Find Other ILHIE Direct Users With Which to Exchange?

The ILHIE Direct portal features an internal directory/address book listing all current ILHIE Direct users.

What is an ILHIE Direct Account Administrator?

Every entity must have an account administrator, whether they are a single provider or registering as the authorized representative of an organization. The role of the administrator is to manage the organization's ILHIE Direct mailboxes, including adding and removing users and resetting passwords. 

What is the advantage of using ILHIE Direct vs. regular email?

ILHIE Direct messages are encrypted, in compliance with HIPAA and state law. You are also able to send larger files than standard email (up to 30 megabytes).

ILHIE Direct allows providers to share and distribute sensitive and confidential information between the two parties without the risk of breach or exposure. Direct uses security technology that is as or more secure than any online banking or commercial transactions on the internet.  Unlike traditional email, the content of a secure email and all associated attachments are sent through and received only by the intended recipient in a secure Clinical Message Portal.

What is the advantage of using ILHIE Direct vs. fax?

  • Fax messages are not encrypted. 
  • Sending a fax does not guarantee that the authorized person receives the fax
  • Maintaining fax logs is time consuming
  • Missing or misplaced pages
  • Direct saves time and money: staff time faxing, maintenance, toner, paper

What are the primary benefits of ILHIE Direct?

  • Improves patient coordination of care
  • Saves staff administrative time
  • Lower costs
  • HIPAA compliant, encrypted service
  • Communicates across organizational borders with and without an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system
  • Providers can achieve Stage 1 Meaningful Use by sharing clinical data through ILHIE Direct
  • You and your organization are vetted and become members of the Illinois Trust Community.

Do I Need an Electronic Health Records (EHR) System to Use ILHIE Direct?

The only system requirements for using ILHIE are an internet connection, and a current version of any standard web browser. An EHR system is not required to use ILHIE Direct.

Why is the ILHIE providing this service?

ILHIE Direct is designed to help providers easily and securely share information such as referrals, patient summaries and lab results to enhance patient care. In doing so, ILHIE aims to improve continuity of care, support the “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records and advance the patient-centered medical home model of care. 

Is ILHIE Direct Part of the Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE)?

ILHIE Direct is the first service offering, and an ongoing component, of the statewide health information exchange.

What kinds of data can be communicated using ILHIE Direct?

Any type of document can be attached to an ILHIE Direct message. Some everyday usage examples include: referrals, patient summaries, discharge summaries, lab results and even some images. 

How does ILHIE Direct work?

ILHIE Direct is easy to use. To begin service, providers need only a connection to the Internet and access to a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. A subscriber will register for an account on the ILHIE Direct web portal, obtain a Direct email address and password (following authentication), and then be able to send and receive secure messages. 

What documents/pieces of information do I need to register for ILHIE Direct? 

Before you register, please have the following documents/pieces of information available:

  • Organizational National Provider Identifier (NPI) – if applicable
  • Individual National Provider Identifier (NPI) – if applicable
  • Organization Taxpayer ID number
  • One Federally-issued Identity Verification Document or two State-issued Identity Verification Documents.

What is the ILHIE Trust Community?

When you register for ILHIE Direct, you and your organization are vetted (through two affidavits that require notarization) to become members of the ILHIE Trust Community. This community includes only verified Illinois providers who have a legitimate need to use ILHIE Direct messaging to exchange patients’ protected health information (PHI). This provides an extra layer of security and confidence.

What is Protected Health Information (PHI)?

Protected Health Information (PHI) is any information that concerns the health status, provision of health care, or payment of health care that can be linked to an individual. This includes any part of a patient's medical record or payment history. 

How does ILHIE Direct support Meaningful Use?

Licensed Illinois providers who subscribe to ILHIE Direct will be closer to achieving the Meaningful Use objectives and to obtaining EHR incentive payments of up to $44,000 from Medicare or $63,750 from Medicaid. Stage 1 Meaningful Use objectives include the capability for electronic health data exchange with an unaffiliated entity (i.e., outside of your own practice or health system), and for electronic provision of clinical summaries to patients who request them. ILHIE Direct is capable of meeting these objectives, and is specifically designed to meet Core Measure 14 for Eligible Professionals and Core Measure 13 for Eligible Hospitals.

To learn more about which electronic systems and modules are certified for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs click here.

How does ILHIE Direct support the federal government’s standards for health information exchange?

ILHIE Direct is using the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Direct Project standard protocols to make health information exchange possible. ILHIE Direct will support all federal and state policies and standards for health information exchange, including privacy and security standards such as HIPAA and state law. 
For questions and additional information please contact Cory Verblen, Communications Manager for the Office of Health Information Technology at