Digital Contact Information: What is it? What is required?

Digital Contact Information: What is it? What is required?

Digital Contact Information: What is it? What is required?

What is a digital contact? Where do providers find information on how to enter or update digital contact information associated with their National Provider Identifier (NPI) in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) and what fields are required to complete their entry for digital contact?

Digital contact information, also known as endpoints, provide a secure way for health care entities, including providers and hospitals, to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the internet. [18] Health care organizations seeking to engage in electronic health information exchange need accurate information about the electronic addresses (for example, Direct address, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® [FHIR] server URL, query endpoint, or other digital contact information) of potential exchange partners to facilitate this information exchange. NPPES can now capture information about a wide range of endpoints that providers can use to facilitate secure exchange of health information (85 FR 25581). Providers may find additional information on digital contact information in NPPES on the Health Information Exchange page of the NPPES website at:

In the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule, CMS finalized the policy to publicly report the names and NPIs of those providers who do not have digital contact information included in the NPPES system beginning in the second half of 2020 (85 FR 25584).

Instructions on how to update digital contact information in NPPES and what fields are required can be found in the instructional PowerPoint deck, beginning on slide 29, at: The required fields, shown on slide 30, are: Endpoint; Endpoint Type; Endpoint Location; Endpoint Affiliation; and the Endpoint Use Terms and Conditions checkbox.

Will patients or members of the public be able to contact a provider via a Direct address, since this information will be publicly available in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES)?

The main purpose of a Direct address is for providers to exchange health information with each other over the internet in a standardized, secure manner. In general, “Direct" is a technical standard for exchanging health information between health care organizations. Direct is similar to email, but different in important ways. For example, Direct messages are authenticated and encrypted in a specific way to ensure that data are sent and received only by authorized parties. Direct is also formatted slightly differently than personal email. There are some providers who use the Direct technology to communicate with their patients through their patient portals; however, the intent of this technology is not to serve as a regular email exchange for members of the public or patients. Direct addresses are available from a variety of sources, including electronic health record (EHR) vendors, State Health Information Exchange entities, regional and local Health Information Exchange entities, as well as private service providers offering Direct exchange capabilities called Health Information Service Providers (HISPs).

Page Last Modified:
09/06/2023 05:05 PM