The Sequoia Project, a non-profit and trusted advocate for nationwide health information exchange, celebrates its 10-year anniversary this week. Founded April 23, 2012, The Sequoia Project has spent the last decade incubating bold new ideas and initiatives to tackle the pressing challenges facing the health IT community on a national level.
“When we’re focused on our day-to-day work, we know we’re doing important work with real impact. But in moments like this anniversary, you take a step back to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and it’s amazing,” said Mariann Yeager, chief executive officer of The Sequoia Project. “We’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals – including many of the biggest names in healthcare – to make real and meaningful progress in health information sharing across the country. I could not be prouder of our team, our partners and the organization we have all built together. While we take this moment to celebrate our past, I’m equally excited about our future.”
The Sequoia Project was chartered as a non-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission to advance the implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. Its decade of successes includes major national initiatives, including serving as an incubator for nationwide projects that were intended to eventually spin out of the organizations and function on their own. And, The Sequoia Project continues to expand its portfolio of projects to tackle barriers to interoperable information exchange nationwide.
In its charter year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) transitioned the management of its initiative, known as the Nationwide Health Information Network (later called eHealth Exchange), to The Sequoia Project to sustain and grow. In 2018, eHealth Exchange became an independent organization separate from The Sequoia Project. Today, the eHealth Exchange is one of the largest organizations in the United States and continues to grow rapidly.
In 2014, The Sequoia Project launched the Carequality Interoperability Framework. A group of industry health IT leaders sought to create a nationwide framework for interoperability and asked The Sequoia Project to be the neutral convener to facilitate development of that framework. The Carequality community created a revolutionary approach to health information exchange that empowers Carequality adopters to benefit from exchanging health information under a shared interoperability framework that enabled a “sign once, share everywhere” approach to connectivity. Adopters of the framework no longer need one-off legal agreements between individual information sharing partners. In 2018, in recognition of the initiative’s growth and maturity, Carequality became an independent organization separate from The Sequoia Project.
The Sequoia Project continues to lead in interoperability through its various initiatives, such as the Interoperability Matters cooperative. Interoperability Matters supports the Information Blocking Compliance Workgroup and its subgroups, Data Usability Workgroup and Emergency Preparedness Information Workgroup, as well as the Leadership Council and Public Advisory Forum, which help guide and influence the various workgroups.
In 2019, ONC named The Sequoia Project as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE). As the RCE, the organization is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the Common Agreement component of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), which will create baseline technical and legal requirement for health information networks to share patient information and is part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
“Congratulations to the entire team at The Sequoia Project on this milestone,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “The Sequoia Project has made significant contributions to nationwide interoperability since its inception and continues to be a tremendous partner to ONC and to the entire industry, bringing its years of experience to bear as the TEFCA Recognized Coordinating Entity.”
After 10 years in operation, The Sequoia Project continues to play an integral role in advancing interoperable health IT and leading in the health IT community. More information on The Sequoia Project history, events and initiatives can be found on its website at https://sequoiaproject.org.