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DirectTrust, the Sequoia Project Grow Health Data Exchange

The two organizations continue trends of upward growth with record numbers of health data exchange transactions in 2017.

Health Data Exchange.

Source: Thinkstock

- DirectTrust and the Sequoia Project are celebrating growth in their recent health data exchange efforts.

On Wednesday, DirectTrust announced significant and continued growth over the first quarter of 2017.

The healthcare alliance created by and for network participants reported a steady climb in number of Direct exchange users, addresses, and transactions with the addition of six new members since the start of 2017.

“The number of healthcare organizations served by DirectTrust health information service providers (HISPs) and engaged in Direct exchange increased 63% to nearly 95,000, compared with the same time last year,” stated DirectTrust.

On top of gaining participants, DirectTrust also experienced a 21-percent increase in Direct addresses exchanging protected health information (PHI), pushing the total to 1.4 million.

In the first quarter of 2017, DirectTrust facilitated 35.6 transactions — a 76-percent increase over the same period in 2016. If this trajectory continues, the healthcare alliance projects transactions eclipsing 140 million by the end of the year.

“DirectTrust’s network for secure, interoperable exchange of health information continues to grow, even as meaningful use programs near the end of their course,” said President and CEO David C. Kibbe, MD, MBA.

“We believe health care providers and their organizations are beginning to learn how to optimize secure data transport via Direct by combining it with more reliable and useful content, and with better workflows for care coordination,” he continued. “Whether used for peer-to-peer messaging, for transport of lab results, to send data to clinical repositories, or to combine clinical file attachments with billing statements, Direct interoperability is replacing fax and mail because it is more secure, less costly, and can be tracked much more easily within EHRs and other applications.”

The six healthcare organizations joining the alliance include health IT vendors Timmaron Group, Moxe Health, and Uticorp, Inc.

 “We’re happy to see a diverse group of innovative applications and IT companies, along with large and prestigious provider organizations, as new members in DirectTrust,” added Kibbe. “Physicians are taking a much more active role in deciding how their organizations and their patients use interoperable health information exchange, and that’s a very positive development to note.”

Two health systems, Sutter Health in northern California and Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland, have also joined DirectTrust since January 1.

Health Record Banking Alliance (HRBA), a non-profit focused on patient-centric electronic health records controlled and curated by consumers, will also participate in the healthcare alliance.

HRBA recently became an association member of the National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) to promote patient engagement and patient control over electronic health records earlier this month.

These six newest additions to the healthcare alliance brings DirectTrust’s membership up to 124 organizations.

The Sequoia Project celebrates 5 years of nationwide health data exchange

Elsewhere in health data exchange, the Sequoia Project recently celebrated its fifth anniversary by highlighting the continued success of its three initiatives over the past year.

Carequality, eHealth Exchange, and RSNA Image Share Validation have all experienced a spike in health organization participants, geographic reach, and number of electronic health record exchanges completed.

To date, Carequality Interoperability Framework has been implemented in over 800 hospitals and used by 250,000 providers.

eHealth Exchange, initially established as an ONC initiative and now managed by the Sequoia Project, reported a 35-percent increase in participation over 2016.

The network of federal agencies and healthcare organizations now spans all 50 states and includes 46 regional and state health information exchanges (HIEs) as well as 65 percent of hospitals.

The eHealth Exchange has grown in not only size but also capability, recently adding image sharing and life insurance to its list of offered services.

 “We’re experiencing phenomenal growth in building seamless, nationwide health data exchange that unifies providers and patients through a common set of technology standards and rules,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of the Sequoia Project. “Our comprehensive approach allows health records to follow the patient wherever they receive care, in an integrated way. Using our Carequality framework and eHealth Exchange network, physicians can access a more complete health history while treating patients. This enables them to improve better care coordination for patients by leveraging health IT interoperability.”

The Sequoia Project’s RSNA Image Share Validation initiative is also steadily growing with seven companies earning validation and more to come as the initiative graduates from its development stages to begin production. 

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