Sequoia Project, DirectTrust tout interoperability surge

More healthcare providers are signing on to HIE initiatives, there are more EHR transactions and more states covered as connectivity expands for both.
By Mike Miliard
01:06 PM
Sequoia Project, DirectTrust tout interoperability surge

Two major interoperability groups, Sequoia Project and DirectTrust, are exchanging more health records and connecting more provider sites than ever, the companies announced this week.

The Sequoia Project – whose members include Carequality, eHealth Exchange, and RSNA Image Share Validation – marked its fifth anniversary by touting across-the-board growth: The number of health organizations participating in its in initiatives, the size of geographic reach and the volume of data exchanged are all on the rise.

The Carequality Interoperability Framework is deployed at more than 19,000 clinics, 800 hospitals and 250,000 providers. This is compared to a year ago, when Carequality first published its interoperability framework and 10 organizations signed on, the group noted.

[Also: HL7 moves FHIR closer to interoperability for precision medicine]

The aim of the Carequality framework is to establish a uniform sharing agreement, eliminating the need for individual health organizations to negotiate one-off legal agreements each time they want to share data with another provider.

The eHealth Exchange, is also posting big growth, according to Sequoia. Launched more than eight years ago by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the network has become the largest health data sharing network of its kind in the United States – having grown 35 percent in the past year, according to Sequoia.

The exchange connects participants across 50 states, four federal agencies, 65 percent of all U.S. hospitals, 46 regional and state HIEs, 50,000 medical groups, and more than 3,400 dialysis centers and 8,300 pharmacies, officials say, handling data for more than 109 million patients.

The capabilities of both Carequality and eHealth are also evolving beyond standard document queries, according to Sequoia: The former recently launched a workgroup to improve the content of the health records exchanged, for instance; the latter now allows a dozen use cases, now including image sharing and life insurance.

[Also: Sequoia, RSNA to put image sharing pilot into production]

Meanwhile, Sequoia's RSNA Image Share Validation project has also shown growth. Seven companies achieved validation via the initiative, which applies rigorous technical testing to ensure interoperable and efficient exchange of medical images. Others are in the process as the program transitions from pilot to production mode.

"We're experiencing phenomenal growth," said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project in a statement. "Our comprehensive approach allows health records to follow the patient wherever they receive care, in an integrated way."

Meanwhile, DirectTrust announced that it posted steady growth – in the number of participants, Direct addresses and transactions – during the first quarter of 2017.

Sutter Health, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Health Record Banking Alliance, Timmaron Group, Moxe Health and Uticorp now bring DirectTrust's membership to 124 organizations.

Since this past year, the number of healthcare organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers and engaged in Direct exchange increased 63 percent, to nearly 95,000, according to the group.

Meanwhile, the number of trusted Direct addresses able to share protected health information grew 21 percent to 1.4 million. There were 35.6 million Direct exchange transactions in the first quarter of 2017 – up 76 percent over the same period last year – and DirectTrust expects total transactions to reach 140 million by the end of 2017.

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