Takeaways from the Annual Meetings of Carequality, eHealth Exchange, and The Sequoia Project

As 2022 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the wild year it’s been. I joined Health Gorilla in May and am so proud to be a part of the community working towards the common goal of seamless nationwide patient data exchange – the promise of which has grown by leaps and bounds this year. 

I had the pleasure and privilege of gathering with this community in Washington, D.C., last week, for the annual meetings of Carequality, eHealth Exchange, and The Sequoia Project. 

The Carequality meeting kicked off with an “Expanding Care Coordination'' session organized by the Payment and Operations Workgroup panel and I am pleased to report that we have a plan to move forward with the additional use case of care coordination. That is a huge unlock. It's going to allow a number of additional participants to use and retrieve data from Carequality, basically anyone who isn't a treating provider but is doing some sort of follow-up on the patient should theoretically have access.

This will go to the Steering Committee in January for approval, and it should move forward based on the universal enthusiasm I saw here. Assuming the participants' enthusiasm continues, these use cases should be in effect within a few months, which is really exciting. 

Also exciting is the progress that has been made this past year on the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). It’s been almost a year since the RCE published TEFCA V1 and we are on the precipice of the implementation of this nationwide floor of interoperability, something that’s been in the works since 2016, when the 21st Century Cures Act was signed.  

Micky Tripathi, of Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology, spoke at the Carequality meeting on Tuesday and again at the eHealth Exchange meeting Thursday, and both days he was fired up. We’re used to having speakers like that express a cautious enthusiasm in a reserved way, but this was just enthusiastic. And it felt so hopeful – like we have crossed the rubicon on interoperability, like we're really starting to hit our stride and are able to build on top of what's been done so far so that we can start to engage in meaningful exchange going forward.

As one of the prospective Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs), Health Gorilla was invited to participate in The Sequoia Project’s panel “You Are Here: Checking in on the TEFCA Timeline and Roadmap” on Wednesday. We were very ably represented by my esteemed colleague Dave Cassel, Senior Vice President of Operations and Customer Success, who was formerly the Executive Director of Carequality.

The topic of governance was central to the QHIN discussion, and more specifically, the idea that we have processes and rigor in place to build trust. Because at the end of the day, governance is about building trust.

In addition to talking about the many challenges of individual access services (IAS) and getting away from treatment-only use cases, there was a session about the Carequality directory during which speakers shared great ideas for ways to improve the directory. I suppose some might find this topic a bit dry, but it was a very fertile and dynamic discussion.

The eHealth Exchange meeting on Thursday started with the Coordinating Committee, which I serve on. Later that day, they showcased a new use case for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing the agency to get health data electronically after an adverse drug event for reporting purposes instead of having to collect paper records. This is exciting and of great interest to Health Gorilla. 

It was a packed three days, full of the latest and greatest developments of 2022. I can’t wait to see what this amazing group of folks gets up to in 2023.