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Become a Trusted Source - Digitally Sign Outgoing Email in Microsoft Outlook

For an EHR provider to successfully send Direct Messages, the receiving provider is also required to have a secure digital ID (email security certificate). Thus, a provider who receives email from EHR providers may need a digital ID even if they are not an EHR provider. The digital ID verifies that a receiver is a 'trusted' source.

Note:  For stage 2, EHR providers must electronically send Summaries of Care to a 'trusted' source in order to meet the second part of the measure (SummaryofCareElectronic).

Any provider can become a trusted source by obtaining a digital ID and setting it up on their system.  These steps explain how to obtain, then import a digital ID into Microsoft Outlook 2013 so that non-EHR providers can receive Direct messages from EHR providers.

  1. Obtain a Digital ID (email security certificate) from a Certificate Authority
    (e.g. Comodo (https://www.comodo.com/home/email-security/free-email-certificate.php).
  2. In Microsoft Outlook 2013, click File, Options, Trust Center, Trust Center Settings..., Email Security.

  1. Check two options:
    - Add digital signature to outgoing messages.
    - Send clear text signed message when sending signed messages
  2. Under Digital IDs, click Import/Export...

  1. Click OK.

  1. Click OK.
  2. In order to receive Direct messages from an EHR provider, send a clear text test email to the EHR provider.  This must be done before the EHR provider can send the Direct message.

*Instructions may be different for other versions of Outlook, even though it has supported email signatures and encryption for many years.


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