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More than Half of All Healthcare Providers in the U.S. are Connected Electronically through the Carequality Interoperability Framework

Healthcare Organizations are Exchanging More than 1.7 Million Clinical Documents per Month through Carequality

(Vienna, VA – December 5, 2017) – During The Sequoia Project’s Annual Meeting taking place this week, one of its key initiatives, Carequality, reported tremendous growth since it became operational in July of 2016. To date, more than 1,000 hospitals, 25,000 clinics, and 580,000 health care providers are connected through the Carequality interoperability framework.

To put this in perspective, that represents more than 50% of all health care providers in the country.

“When we first kicked off planning efforts for Carequality in 2014, we knew it was going to be big,” said Mariann Yeager, president of The Sequoia Project. “We had many of the biggest names in health care – including health care providers, technology vendors, pharmacies and others – committing to making Carequality work and implementing the framework once it was completed. And with today’s revelation about the rapid increase and scale of Carequality’s current operations, we’re delighted. We’re proud to have the opportunity to work with each and every Carequality participating network and to celebrate their groundbreaking work to interconnect networks across the nation. The health care industry and government partners banded together to make Carequality a reality, and we’re now seeing the fruits of that labor.”

Illustrating the breadth of Carequality’s reach, in October 2017 alone, more than 1.7 million documents were shared among health care organizations through the Carequality Interoperability Framework. The rate of exchange is rapidly accelerating each month, as two million documents were exchanged in total for the first 12 months, and nearly as many are exchanged now monthly. With existing implementers continuing to onboard clients, and more than a half dozen implementers expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, there will be continued growth.

“Carequality’s success stems from the core principles of inclusivity and openness we laid out during early planning meetings,” said Dave Cassel, Vice President of Carequality, “We brought together competing vendors, providers large and small, HIEs, government agencies, pharmacies, and other types of health care organizations, allowing everyone to be heard. Open conversation and debate was encouraged, and we embraced transparency and openness in all processes. As a result, we created a national interoperability framework that works, nationwide. Our implementing networks continue to attract more and more hospitals, practices, and medical groups. Additional networks are coming on line that connect payers, many more providers, and even patients themselves as direct participants in their care. Stay tuned, because the document exchange and participation numbers are going to get a lot bigger.”

Carequality was born out of industry demand, shaped by industry and government collaboration, and now it is succeeding through industry support and participation. The end result is a national interoperability framework that is making giant strides toward achieving nationwide connectivity for health information exchange.

What is Carequality?
Carequality is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to enable exchange between and among health data sharing networks. Carequality brings together diverse group, including electronic health record (EHR) vendors, record locator service (RLS) providers and other types of existing networks from the private sector and government, to determine technical and policy agreements to enable data to flow between and among networks, platforms, and geographies.

The Carequality Framework provides the essential elements for trusted national exchange, including common rules of the road (including a Trusted Exchange Framework), well-defined technical specifications and a participant directory.

About Carequality
Carequality is a public-private collaborative that facilitates agreement among diverse stakeholders to develop and maintain a common, national-level interoperability framework enabling exchange between and among data sharing networks. Carequality brings together a diverse group of representatives from the private sector and government to come to collective agreement on how to enable data to flow seamlessly between and among networks and providers, much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks. For more information, visit www.carequality.org and follow us at twitter.com/carequality.

About The Sequoia Project
The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, 501c3, public-private collaborative chartered to advance implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably: the eHealth Exchange, a rapidly growing health data sharing community of exchange partners sharing under a common trust framework and a common set of rules; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing data sharing networks, much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks. For more information about The Sequoia Project and its initiatives, visit www.sequoiaproject.org. Follow The Sequoia Project on Twitter: @SequoiaProject.

Contact: Dawn Van Dyke
Phone: (571) 346-2439
Email: dvandyke@sequoiaproject.org

The Sequoia Project’s Annual Meeting to Draw Health IT Leaders Nationwide to Discuss Data Sharing Progress and the Path Forward

Event to be held December 5-6 in Gaylord National Harbor, Maryland

(Vienna, VA – November 16, 2017) – The Sequoia Project, the leading independent advocate for nationwide health data sharing, announced today that its annual meeting will be held on December 5-6, 2017 in Gaylord National Harbor, Maryland. The event will draw health IT leaders from across the United States for an update on The Sequoia Project’s programs and initiatives.

Highlights from this year’s event will include:

  • Updates from Carequality, the eHealth Exchange and RSNA Image Share Validation
  • Presentations from recognized experts such as Micky Tripathi, CEO of Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, and Genevieve Morris, Principal Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
  • Lessons learned from experts implementing health IT interoperability throughout the country
  • Interactive workshops outlining the way ahead
  • Networking with current and potential health data sharing partners

The meeting will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, located outside of Washington, DC.  Details and a complete agenda can be viewed online at http://sequoiaproject.org/annual-meeting

Panels and topics will include:

  • Carequality’s Path to Nationwide Connectivity
  • The 21st Century Cures Act and You: Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement
  • Drowning in Data: Clinical Content Requirements for Success

“This has been an eventful year for The Sequoia Project, as we move toward our goal of comprehensive nationwide interoperability,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “Our members are making health data interoperability history and we look forward to celebrating our collective successes and setting the course for progress in 2018 and beyond.”

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About The Sequoia Project

The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, 501c3, public-private collaborative chartered to advance implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably: the eHealth Exchange, a rapidly growing health data sharing community of exchange partners sharing under a common trust framework and a common set of rules; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing data sharing networks, much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks. For more information about The Sequoia Project and its initiatives, visit www.sequoiaproject.org. Follow The Sequoia Project on Twitter: @SequoiaProject.

Media Contact

Contact: Dawn Van Dyke
Phone: (571) 346-2439
Email: dvandyke@sequoiaproject.org

Veterans Benefit from eHealth Exchange as More Seek Care in Private Sector

Expanding Electronic Health Data Sharing Network Supports Veterans and Their Families

(Vienna, VA – November 9, 2017) – Over 1.5 million Veterans enrolled with the Department of Veterans (VA) have been identified as receiving part of their care with one or more of VA’s eHealth Exchange Community Healthcare Partners.  These Veteran’s medical records are available for bidirectional exchange between VA and community clinicians for better care coordination with private sector health care providers. Currently, Veterans are required to sign an authorization form before VA may release their health information to participating Community providers, referred to “opting in.” To date, 366,922 Veterans, out of the 8.9 million Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system, have opted in, which represents only 4% of Veterans receiving care at VA.  Congress is now discussing a bill that will allow all Veterans to be automatically opted into the health information exchange, opening up this exchange to the available 8.9 million Veterans. Having their health information more readily accessible enables these Veterans to receive more effective and efficient care when they visit participating Community Care Sites, which include nearly 1,000 hospitals, 19,000 clinics, 8,500 pharmacies, 600 labs, and 250 nursing homes.

“The eHealth Exchange has been working with the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE), a program of the Veterans Health Administration, since 2009 to steadily increase health data sharing connectivity to ensure Veterans and their families receive the most effective care no matter where they seek it,” said Jennifer Rosas, director of the eHealth Exchange. “And once a Veteran receives treatment at a Community Care Site, we make it easier for VA-providers to receive care notes and follow-up.”

Being able to share health records with private sector healthcare providers is critical to care effectively for Veterans and their families. This will remain crucial as Veterans increase the care they receive in the private sector – an estimated 40-60% over the next 10 years.

The eHealth Exchange is the principal way that private sector health care providers are able to share health information with federal agencies to support patient care, quality assurance and disability programs. The public-private partnership’s purpose is to exchange data between and among federal agencies. The network supports sharing health data such as medical history, allergies, medications, procedures, family history, and other vital data points for more informed care decisions.

In addition to sharing medical records for treatment in the private sector, the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE) also uses the eHealth Exchange to connect to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Since the SSA and VA health IT initiative launched in November 2016 to speed disability determinations, one million Veteran records have been shared, enabling all Social Security disability case processing sites to receive medical records electronically from all VA facilities.

“Veterans often have complex care needs, due to the nature of their injuries and stress from their military service,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project.  “Having access to Veteran health data is essential for providing the highest quality care, no matter where a Veteran seeks treatment. The eHealth Exchange is honored to support the men and women in and out of uniform who have so bravely served our country.”

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*Updated November 20, 2017*

About eHealth Exchange

The eHealth Exchange is a rapidly growing health data sharing network for securely sharing clinical information over the Internet nationwide. The eHealth Exchange spans all 50 states and is the largest clinical health data sharing network of its kind in the United States. Current eHealth Exchange participants include large provider networks, hospitals, pharmacies, regional health information exchanges and many federal agencies, representing more than 65% of all U.S. hospitals, 50,000 medical groups, more than 8,300 pharmacies and 109 million patients. For more information about the eHealth Exchange, visit www.ehealthexchange.com. Follow the eHealth Exchange on Twitter: @eHealthExchange.

Media Contact

Contact: Dawn Van Dyke
Phone: (571) 346-2439
Email: dvandyke@sequoiaproject.org

GE Healthcare Receives Carequality Certification, Advancing Data Exchange with Cloud Technology

GE Healthcare today announced that it has received Carequality certification to enable seamless data sharing by its ambulatory EHR customers with thousands of hospitals, physician practices, payer networks, vendors and consumer services nationally. Already a KLAS top performer for interoperability impact on patient care, GE Healthcare built upon its existing expertise in providing digital tools to improve care coordination with its certification.

Key Thoughts from an Epic VP on New Share Everywhere Release

Last week, Epic announced a new product that caught the eye of many in the industry. Share Everywhere allows patients to open their medical records to any provider with internet access, regardless of whether they have an EHR.

It’s an interesting development that has key interoperability implications. The issue of data access and exchange has been a historic challenge that’s been pushed more into the healthcare industry’s limelight since Meaningful Use requirements were passed in the 2009 HITECH Act. Many providers place blame on vendors. Companies have been accused of everything from information-blocking to misrepresenting software capabilities. Still, vendors have been slowly pushing toward interoperability with efforts like The Sequoia Project’s Carequality project, a public-private collaborative that promotes interoperability.

Will Epic’s New Record-sharing Tool Solve Interoperability Challenges?

By most accounts, Epic Systems Corp.’s announcement that it was releasing a digital tool allowing patients to share their medical records with any provider was a huge leap toward reaching the ever-elusive digital exchange of medical information.

Epic’s Care Everywhere—not to be confused with Share Everywhere—helps in that quest. Using the technology, organizations exchange 2 million records per day with Epic and other vendors’ systems. Epic is also a member of Carequality, an initiative of the Sequoia Project whose framework supports data transfer among its members. Carequality members will soon be able to exchange data with members of the Commonwell Health Alliance, co-founded by Epic market rival Cerner Corp., greatly expanding interoperability.

Improving Provider Satisfaction in the Post-HITECH Era

recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the impact of the HITECH Act on EHR adoption and advised policymakers on ways to improve provider satisfaction and health IT innovation in the post-HITECH era.

Co-authors Beth Israel Deaconess CIO John Halamka, MD and Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO Mickey Tripathi, PhD acknowledged that HITECH is responsible for encouraging most hospitals and physician practices to adopt EHR systems.

However, some of the act’s effects were less than beneficial. Provider satisfaction in particular took a hit as a result of stringent, complex regulations.

Health IT Expert Tripathi Digs Deep on Impact of Epic’s Share Everywhere Release

Micky Tripathi feels that patients driving the innovation is the important takeaway from the big Epic news this week

Can $10B Solve Healthcare’s Big Data Analytics, Productivity Woes?

The healthcare industry is no stranger to weighty problems, including skyrocketing costs, slumping provider productivity, and the near-universal lack of big data liquidity – and it has certainly tried to implement its fair share of forceful solutions.

The obvious inefficiency of such a system quickly gave rise to health information exchanges (HIEs), Direct secure messaging, and then to private industry-led consortiums such as CommonWell and Carequality, which have allowed vendors to tackle their interoperability issues together.

HIE Collaboratives Helping to Advance Health IT Interoperability

Health information exchange (HIE) collectives and networks-of-networks including eHealth Exchange, CommonWell, and Surescripts help promote secure health data exchange across healthcare facilities nationwide.

Specifically, many networks-of-networks have been successful in promoting standardization through the use of the Carequality technical and legal framework. In 2016, CommonWell signed an agreement with Carequality to implement the Carequality Interoperability Framework to further promote interoperability. As part of the agreement, CommonWell and The Sequoia Project agreed to carry out the interoperability and health data exchange activities necessary to create a Carequality-compliant CommonWell alliance. Additionally, the two networks agreed to collaborate in the future.