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GRAChIE Using eHealth Exchange to Mobilize Connection Points for Hurricane Florence Evacuees

eHealth Exchange Network Model Ensures Secure, Interoperable Health Information Exchange

VIENNA, Va., Sept. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As the nation braces for the force of Hurricane Florence, the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange (GRAChIE) is working to connect to eHealth Exchange participants in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida in preparation for displaced evacuees.

Major disasters such as Hurricane Florence have an effect on healthcare information needs – even before they make landfall. Hurricane Florence has already resulted in the evacuation of millions who have left the places where they normally receive care and where their healthcare records are housed.

GRAChIE has been working diligently expand its connectivity to health information exchanges (HIEs) throughout the Southeast via the eHealth Exchange as quickly as possible before Hurricane Florence hits the coast.

“We are making great strides for building bridges and exchange throughout the southeast as the storm approaches,” said Tara Cramer, CEO of GRAChIE.  “We are currently taking connections live with the approach we used last year during Hurricane Irma with great success.”

“The eHealth Exchange network provides a nationwide backbone for health information sharing that enables network participants to share information in the normal course of care and to quickly expand those connections when emergencies arise, “said Jay Nakashima, Vice President of eHealth Exchange. “This ensures a state of readiness. In disaster situations such as Hurricane Florence, physicians must have instant access to electronic patient histories to provide safe and effective care.”

Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE)

When disaster strikes, and families are relocated to shelters in their community or even further afield, prescription refills and other healthcare needs become more challenging. The Sequoia Project, building upon the work incubated by HHS, is spearheading a nationwide deployment plan for the health IT disaster response platform known as the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE). The PULSE system enables authorized disaster healthcare volunteers treating patients in field hospitals, outside the normal care setting to access patient records when they have been injured or displaced by disasters and other emergencies.

“Disasters and other events are unpredictable and disruptive and place unique demands on public health, private sector healthcare, first responders and other key resources,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “People need seamless healthcare, whether for emergency care or just uninterrupted prescription access, when they are displaced by a disaster.”

The PULSE platform was activated in California for the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, and many area health systems and providers rallied behind the effort. This experience will guide further efforts to deploy PULSE in other states and regions by informing governance, activities and policies on a national-level platform to enable sharing among disaster healthcare volunteers and community providers.

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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 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 75% of all U.S. hospitals, 70,000 medical groups, more than 8,300 pharmacies and 120 million patients where over 200 million clinical documents are exchanged annually. For more information about the eHealth Exchange, visit www.ehealthexchange.com. Follow the eHealth Exchange on Twitter: @eHealthExchange.

About GRAChIE
The Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange (GRAChIE) serves healthcare organizations and providers across Georgia seamlessly bringing health information from one healthcare professional to another. GRAChIE provides health information in a secure, electronic format allowing healthcare professionals to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s health information electronically through EHR system. https://grachie.org/

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 national-level health information network; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing health information 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

The Sequoia Project to Present at ONC’s 2nd Interoperability Forum

Non-profit to co-lead all-day track on patient matching; participate in diverse panel sessions

(Vienna, VA – August 1, 2018) – The Sequoia Project is pleased to announce it is presenting at The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) 2nd Interoperability Forum on August 6th-8th, 2018 in Washington, DC.  This three-day event will bring together leaders from the ONC, federal partners, the healthcare industry, and the technology sector to learn about recent efforts to advance interoperability nationwide and to identify concrete actions in response to current interoperability barriers.

The Sequoia Project’s CTO/CIO Eric Heflin will co-lead the day-long patient matching track on August 7 beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET. This session seeks to identify areas of consensus regarding patient matching definitions and showcase innovative matching technologies and metrics.

“We are pleased to be taking part in ONC’s Interoperability Forum as it is a great opportunity to discuss the latest issues, share our expertise, and identify actions that can be taken to address key barriers to interoperability,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “Patient matching is a vital piece of the interoperability puzzle and Eric will discuss some innovative research in this area.”

Dave Cassel, The Sequoia Project vice president for Carequality, and Didi Davis, The Sequoia Project vice president for conformance and interoperability, will participate throughout the content interoperability track on Tuesday. This track will review current and future plans to advance content interoperability via the US Core for Data Interoperability and will gather attendee feedback on quality of exchanged content and data types that are of emerging importance. In particular, Mr. Cassel will join Sequoia Project Board of Directors member Dr. Steven Lane, Clinical Informatics Director, Privacy, Information Security, and Interoperability at Sutter Health, for the 9:30-10:45 a.m. panel session, Reports from the Field: On Content Quality and Continuous Improvement Efforts. Ms. Davis will demonstrate The Sequoia Project Interoperability Testing Platform at the 1:30 p.m. panel session, Tooling Demos and Discussion.

“As the nation reaches a tipping point in connectivity, the focus is shifting to improving the information exchanged across that connectivity,” continued Ms. Yeager. “Patient matching capabilities, content quality, and other barriers are being tackled by committed stakeholders from across government and industry.”

On Wednesday, The Sequoia Project CEO Mariann Yeager will join Jeremy Wong, director of master data management services, for a demonstration of the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE), which is a nationwide health IT disaster response platform that can be deployed at the city, county, or state level to enable disaster healthcare volunteer providers to access health information when treating individuals displaced or injured by disasters.

“We are looking for new ways to leverage the hard-earned connectivity we’ve built,” explained Ms. Yeager. “We are eager to support emergency and disaster response workers in utilizing these tools in their planning and to support disaster response efforts. It will help individuals and families receive better care during and following disasters such as the recent California wild fires.”

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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 national-level health information network; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing health information 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

Statement on the Passage of VA Mission Act

Statement by The Sequoia Project CEO Mariann Yeager on
Passage of the VA MISSION Act (H.R. 5674/ S. 2193)

“For many years, we’ve seen veterans and their providers frustrated because veteran health records were not accessible to private sector providers due to an administrative issue. The VA Mission Act provides an important fix that will unlock veteran health records to enable the providers who care for veterans to make better informed decisions and coordinate care regardless of whether they are treated at a VA medical facility or in the private sector.”

Statement by eHealth Exchange Vice President Jay Nakashima
on Passage of the VA MISSION Act (H.R. 5674/ S. 2193)

 

“Since its inception, the eHealth Exchange network has worked closely with the Department of Veteran Affairs to support health IT interoperability between the department and partner providers but our success was limited by an outdated congressional mandate – until now. With the passage of VA Mission Act, we hope to see exponential improvements in health data sharing between community providers and the Veterans Health Administration, with the resulting benefits of patient satisfaction and health outcomes.”

 

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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 national-level health information network; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing health information 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

eHealth Exchange to Become Carequality Implementer

Parent Organization, The Sequoia Project, to Update Corporate Structure While Remaining 501(c)3 Non-Profit

(Vienna, VA – May 10, 2018) – The Sequoia Project, a non-profit dedicated to solving health IT interoperability for the public good, announced today its intentions to update its corporate structure this summer. The new corporate structure will reflect the continued maturation of the organization and the significantly larger role that The Sequoia Project plays as the central convener for interoperability. The updated corporate structure will result in The Sequoia Project having two distinct subsidiaries; one for eHealth Exchange and one for Carequality.

The eHealth Exchange is one of the oldest and largest health information networks in the U.S., and Carequality is an interoperability framework that makes it possible for different health information networks to share records with each other electronically. The new corporate structure will assure that each of these vital initiatives has the governance and management resources that they require to continue flourishing.

The eHealth Exchange plans to become a member and implementer of Carequality later this year, thereby extending the eHealth Exchange’s reach to all other networks that also participate in Carequality. Jay Nakashima, the new vice president of the eHealth Exchange, will spearhead the network’s application to join Carequality and set the strategic direction for the network.

“For the last nine years, the eHealth Exchange has been the principal way the public and private sector share health information,” said Nakashima. “I’m honored to take the helm at this critical stage of the network’s evolution as we develop new services and features, beginning with operating as a separate legal entity and becoming a Carequality implementer.”

The eHealth Exchange network, which is working in 75 percent of all US hospitals, is leveraged by more than 15 electronic health record (EHR) technologies and 59 regional or state health information exchanges (HIEs). Four federal agencies (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Social Security Administration) participate in the network to share patient information with private sector partners as well as other agencies. In all, the eHealth Exchange supports secure exchange of the records of more than 120 million patients.

“Carequality’s success providing the national-level trusted exchange framework is predicated on our commitment to fairness and transparency,” said Dave Cassel, vice president of Carequality. “By reorganizing the eHealth Exchange and Carequality into separate legal entities, we further ensure unbiased, equitable treatment for the eHealth Exchange alongside every other implementer subject to Carequality oversight.”

So far, the Carequality framework has enabled more than 600,000 physicians to share health data across networks. Once the eHealth Exchange completes the Carequality application process, each eHealth Exchange network participant will have the option to add Carequality connectivity to bi-directionally share patient data with other Carequality-connected providers.

“The coming updates were driven by the significant growth and progress of the eHealth Exchange and Carequality,” explained Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “We can expect to keep the operational efficiencies, while expanding Sequoia’s focus on incubating new interoperability opportunities and overcoming impediments to health information exchange.”

Following the reorganization, The Sequoia Project will continue to bring together industry and government to transparently and inclusively develop solutions to the most pressing challenges of health data exchange. Thought leadership will be transformed into leadership action on topics like FHIR®, patient matching, and supporting disaster response efforts such as the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE).

The Sequoia Project will share additional updates later this summer as changes progress.

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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 national-level health information network; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing health information 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 CTO/CIO Joins ONC’s U.S. Core Data for Interoperability Task Force

Brings Real-World Standards & Data Interoperability Implementation Experience

(Vienna, VA – February 21, 2018) – Eric Heflin, CIO/CTO for The Sequoia Project, has been appointed to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee’s (HITAC) U.S. Core Data for Interoperability Task Force (USCDI). Established by the 21stCentury Cures Act (P.L. 114-225) the HITAC and its taskforces inform the work of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) by making policy, standards, and implementation specification recommendations for local and national health information access and exchange.

“Through its independently governed initiatives, The Sequoia Project has significant experience implementing national-scale health data exchange common agreements and trusted exchange frameworks that leverage the technical standards of others,” said Mr. Heflin.

The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably: the eHealth Exchange, the oldest, national public-private health data sharing network that includes four federal agencies, 75 percent of U.S. hospitals and 47 regional and state health information exchanges; and Carequality, an interoperability framework for trusted exchange among existing data sharing networks covering more than 600,000 physicians.

Prior to the Cures Act and HITAC, ONC was advised by both the Health Information Technology Policy Committee and the Health Information Standards Committee, the latter of which Mr. Heflin was an active member. The new USCDI Taskforce will provide recommendation and feedback on the USCDI structure and processes, such as classes, categorization, objective characteristics for promotion, and expansion plans.

“The Sequoia Project is honored to support ONC, from providing subject matter expertise to supporting the goals of the draft trusted framework proposed this winter,” continued Mr. Heflin.

In addition to Mr. Heflin’s appointment to the USCDI, The Sequoia Project’s experience is also represented on the HITAC by Board of Director Members John Kansky, of Indiana Health information Exchange, and Dr. Steven Lane, of Sutter Health.

About The Sequoia Project

The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, public-private collaborative focused on advancing implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably: the eHealth Exchange, the oldest, national public-private health data sharing network; and Carequality, an interoperability framework for trusted exchange among existing data sharing networks regarding technical specifications and best practices, 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.

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 https://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

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.

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.

HIMSS, EHRA urge ONC to tap existing models for Trusted Exchange Framework

Two health IT groups are calling for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to use existing private sector interoperability models as the agency finalizes guidelines for trusted data exchange.

The ONC is currently developing a Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement required under the 21st Century Cures Act to facilitate health data interoperability. The agency already kicked off the initiative with a stakeholder meeting on July 24, and officials have asked stakeholders to submit comments on the framework by Friday, Aug. 25.