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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

National Patient Matching Framework Updated

The Sequoia Project Adopts Public Evaluation and Comment for Framework

Vienna, VA – June 12, 2018 – The Sequoia Project announced the results of a multi-year effort of a diverse stakeholder workgroup to examine and revise best practices for patient matching between health information exchange partners. The revised whitepaper, entitled “A Framework for Cross-Organizational Patient Identity Management 2018,” is a multi-dimensional document featuring a matching maturity model, a detailed case study and specific practices for a national patient matching framework.

“When we released the proposed minimal practices document a few years ago we knew patient matching was one of the most significant challenges to nationwide health information sharing,” said Eric Heflin, chief technology officer for The Sequoia Project and lead author of the paper. “So, we were pleased to receive robust and detailed feedback during the public comment period, as well as many experts volunteering their time and considerable operational knowledge to improve the national-level guidance.”

The Sequoia Project convened a Patient Identity Management Workgroup, comprised of industry, academic, standards and government experts.  It was charged with dispositioning comments to develop final recommendations for improved patient identity management. In alphabetical order: (* Denotes co-chair)

  • Jamie Bennett, Healthcare Systems Specialist, JP Systems Inc., Veterans’ Health Administration
  • Ryan Bramble*, Senior Director of Technology, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP)
  • Karon Casey, IT Manager, Coastal Connect Health Information Exchange
  • Adam Culbertson, Innovator in Residence, HIMSS
  • John T. Donnelly, President, IntePro Solutions Inc.
  • Zachary Gillen*, Senior Director, Care Delivery Technology Services, Kaiser Permanente IT
  • Eric Heflin, Chief Information Officer /Chief Technology Officer, The Sequoia Project
  • Al Jackson, Vice President of Information Management & System Performance, Surescripts LLC
  • Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA, Director, Practice Excellence, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA, FAHIMA, Chief Health Information Management and Exchange Officer, Children’s Health (Dallas, Texas)
  • Rebecca Madison*, Executive Director, Alaska eHealth Network
  • Shelley Mannino-Marosi, Senior Director, Program Management, Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services
  • Greg Mears, MD Medical Director, ZOLL
  • Wendi Melgoza, RHIA, CPHI HIM, Data Quality Manager, Sutter Health Shared Services
  • Ben Moscovitch Manager, Health Information Technology, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Marty Prahl, Health IT Consultant, Social Security Administration
  • Catherine Procknow, Software Developer, Epic
  • Carmen Smiley, IT Specialist (Health System Analysis), Office of Standards & Technology HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

In addition to affirming the draft guidance, the workgroup incorporated new proposals to support the unique patient identifier challenges of pediatrics. There is currently no widely employed naming convention for newborns, specifically, patients who have not yet received their legal name and have a temporary name. Of course, babies do not have social security numbers or other government–assigned identification at the time of birth. The issue is further complicated in the instance of multiple births, such as triplets, and the need for in-utero procedures.

“This paper provides a roadmap for advancing our national patient matching strategy. We hope to see organizations adopt these minimal practices and maturity model for patient matching with their external health information exchange partners,” said Heflin. “If we can standardize, in practice, how EMRs and HIOs leverage existing standards, we will increase patient match rates dramatically even in the absence of having a national unique patient identifier.”

The full paper, including details about the study and the proposed framework for how to implement the findings nationally, is available for public use on The Sequoia Project website.

The Sequoia Project identified the need for a patient matching framework and convened the workgroup under a new model for transparently and inclusively solving discrete interoperability challenges. The non-profit aims to replicate this public-private collaborative process to address other challenges such as improving clinical content, among others.

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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

The Sequoia Project’s CTO/ CIO Testifies Before National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics

Increasing Collaboration Between The Sequoia Project at National and International Levels

(Vienna, VA – May 17, 2018) – Eric Heflin, CIO/CTO for The Sequoia Project, is set to provide expert testimony today at the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’ Standards Subcommittee CIO Forum. Mr. Heflin will share the evolution of technical standards utilized by The Sequoia Project and its initiatives, including incorporation of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®), as the organization supports scalable health data sharing solutions. He will also provide advice on lessons learned from supporting nationwide health information sharing that could be applied to administrative simplification transactions, claims workflows, standards development, governance and oversight, data harmonization and consumer access.

The eHealth Exchange, one of the largest public-private health information exchanges in the U.S., and Carequality, the national trusted exchange framework for interoperability between and among health information networks, both leverage international technical standards such as those developed by IHE International, an international health information technology (IT) standards development organization.

“The Sequoia Project and its initiatives are grounded in real-world health data sharing experiences,” said Mr. Heflin. “It’s critical that those organizations with large scale health data sharing experience collaborate to move the whole nation forward efficiently and productively in coordination with those that require such standards. Providers and patients are counting on us.”

Partnering with and providing leadership to national and international organizations is vital to the success of the development and large-scale implementation of The Sequoia Project’s interoperability efforts. Mr. Heflin serves as a subject matter expert and active contributor to wide-ranging groups including the HL7 FHIR Argonaut Project and ONC’s Health Information Technology Advisory Committee’s (HITAC) U.S. Core Data for Interoperability Task Force (USCDI). Mr. Heflin was also recently re-elected to the IHE USA Board of Directors. IHE USA represents the United States’ interests within IHE International. Didi Davis, director of testing programs for The Sequoia Project, serves on the IHE International Board of Directors and on various committees.

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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

Lessons from Katrina and the 2017 California Fires: The Sequoia Project Spearheading Platform for Nationwide Health IT Disaster Response

Nonprofit Convenes Experts to Move California Model to National-Level Solution

(Vienna, VA – May 7, 2018) – 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, in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced today the development of a nationwide deployment plan for the health IT disaster response platform known as the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE). They also formed an advisory council to inform its progress.

Experts from two offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) initially conceived the idea for PULSE following experiences in Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Well-meaning physicians and providers flocked to shelters to help, but the shelters could not confirm medical credentials of the volunteers, and the volunteers could not access evacuee health records.

“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 wildfires, and many area health systems and providers rallied behind the effort. The new PULSE advisory council will leverage these early experiences to guides 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.

The advisory council is composed of experienced and knowledgeable subject matter experts who bring unique insight from federal and state government, emergency response organizations, health information networks, healthcare provider organizations and clinicians. Representatives appointed to date include:

  • California Association of Health Information Exchanges (CAHIE) – Rim Cothren, Executive Director
  • California Emergency Medical Services Authority (CalEMSA) – Dan Smiley, Chief Deputy Director
  • CMS – Tom Novak, US Department of Health and Human Services Medicaid Interoperability Lead
  • Emergency Physician – Dr. Mark Cohen, fire department and EMS medical director
  • Healthcare Provider Organization – Sean Turner, Senior Director Interoperability and Population Health IT, Dignity Health
  • HHS Intergovernmental and External Affairs – Lee Stevens,  Senior Policy Advisor
  • HHS Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – Kristen Finne, Senior Program Analyst and emPOWER Program Manager
  • ONC – Rachel Abbey, Public Health Analyst
  • Technical Implementation – Jeremy Wong, director of master data management services, Audacious Inquiry
  • Texas e-Health Alliance (TEHA) – Nora Belcher, Executive Director

“PULSE is a public-private collaborative effort focused on ensuring our cities, counties and states are ready for when the next disaster strikes,” said Yeager. “Disasters and other serious events are inevitable, but how we handle them improves daily, and this effort will help communities take an important step forward toward more effective disaster response.”

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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

Surescripts’ Paul Uhrig Re-Elected to The Sequoia Project Board of Directors

Surescripts continues to advance healthcare with the re-election of its Chief Administrative, Legal and Privacy Officer, Paul Uhrig, to The Sequoia Project Board of Directors. The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), public-private collaborative chartered to advance implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange.

Carequality Framework Membership Exceeds 600K Providers

Carequality recently announced more than 600,000 healthcare providers are utilizing its trusted health data exchange framework to enable network-to-network connectivity.

Membership of the Sequoia Project initiative includes eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare, NextGen Healthcare, Surescripts, athenahealth, and others. Organizations across the industry currently use the framework to exchange over 2.4 million clinical documents per month.

Carequality Trusted Exchange Framework Demonstrates Nationwide Network-to-Network Connectivity

600,000+ Physicians exchanging more 2.4 million clinical documents per month under Carequality

(Vienna, VA – February 28, 2018) – Carequality, an initiative of The Sequoia Project, reported today that the traction and growth of its national-level trusted exchange framework is fueled by a straightforward process, which focuses on the key essentials for interoperability. To date, more than 1,250 hospitals, 35,000 clinics, and 600,000 health care providers are connected through the Carequality interoperability framework.

Clinical document exchange rate continues to accelerate.

“What’s so exciting about the Carequality framework is its inclusiveness and flexibility,” said Dave Cassel, vice president of Carequality. “In about a year and a half, we’ve gone from a good concept, to a critical mass of nationwide exchange among diverse organizations.  The speed with which this has occurred isn’t something we’re accustomed to from interoperability projects, historically.”

Nine pioneering Carequality members are live now, including athenahealth®, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare, Netsmart, NextGen Healthcare, OneRecord, Santa Cruz HIE, and Surescripts. Exchange has rapidly increased over the first year and a half of operation, with over 2.4 million clinical documents now being exchanged monthly across these organizations and their customers. Organizations leveraging this unique framework may dramatically expand connectivity of their existing network, providing their own clients new health data sharing options.

“Successfully delivering historical patient care information requires strong cross-market network alliances, which are in place and rapidly expanding. Surescripts Record Locator and Exchange went live on the Carequality framework in 2016, immediately delivering value to increasingly consumer-minded patients by building trust with their care teams who now have the breadth of their medical information in hand,” said Tom Skelton, Chief Executive Officer of Surescripts. “In just the last three months of 2017, we exchanged more than four million clinical documents with Carequality participants, effectively relieving the burden on patients and their loved ones to recall their clinical history and saving significant time by eliminating the need for support staff to manually field records requests.”

2017 Live Sites

2018 Live Sites

Cassel credits the role of the participating networks in achieving wide rollouts in a relatively short time. “We could never have seen the scope of rollout that has occurred so far, without well-established data sharing networks and programs being in place. They’ve done all the hard work of getting their members and customers wired in. What Carequality adds are the elements for the networks to take that individual success and compound it together.  In the end, it comes down to trust, which stems from the contractual governance but is validated through solid onboarding processes.”

“In order to deliver on the promise of interoperability, the industry needs to collaboratively create user-friendly solutions that provide universal access to health information,” said Evan Grossman, Vice President of Integration Services at athenahealth. “Through our partnerships with Carequality and other major networks, athenahealth is able to give providers the ubiquitous access that they need to gain a comprehensive view of their patients’ care. By utilizing a single gateway architecture, athenahealth clients need no special on-site configuration.  athenahealth can build and scale our network connections in the background, giving providers easy access to thousands of care sites directly in their EHR workflow. Through our work with Carequality, providers can access the right information at the right time and are enabled to feel present and prepared in each patient’s moment of care.”

In addition to the regional health information exchange, record locator service, personal health and electronic health record (EHR) vendors live now, eighteen other organizations have signed on to be implementers of the Carequality framework. Those in the onboarding process now include new kinds of service providers, consumer apps, and additional EHR vendors and HIEs.

“Before Carequality, the healthcare industry struggled to achieve true care coordination, particularly when it came to integrating behavioral health and post-acute data, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of healthcare spending, with the rest of healthcare,” said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine. “This national framework provides real-time access to information from all healthcare settings and improves outcomes by empowering whole-person care; which is vital to bending the cost curve of treating a population that is more likely to have multiple chronic conditions and are some of the most expensive group to treat in healthcare.”

More than 50% of all health care providers in the country are now empowered to share health data under the Carequality Interoperability Framework. However, Carequality was designed to be largely invisible to physicians and other individual users.  “Our goal is to make national-scale interoperability easily accessible for provider organizations and other stakeholders,” Cassel explained.  “If we’ve done our job well, users won’t even know we exist; they’ll just see improved capabilities within their home systems or networks.”

“We’ve found that seamless integration of external clinical data into the GE Healthcare workflow is saving our customers time, and sharing data in real-time helps the healthcare community enhance care quality for shared patients and avoid unnecessary medical expense, “ said Jon Zimmerman, Vice President and General Manager of Value-Based Care Solutions at GE Healthcare. “Our cloud-based approach enables our customers to take full advantage of the rapidly growing Carequality.”

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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 groups, 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, such as common rules of the road (including a Trusted Exchange Framework), well-defined technical specifications and a participant directory.

Contact

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