Kent Gale Blog Connectivity

Connectivity: Where does the rubber meet the road? A closer look at eHealth Exchange (The Sequoia Project)

Real measurement of patient record sharing brings clarity to what is actually happening. Public statements by collaboration leaders and vendor sponsors, however well intended, can create distrust if shown to be inaccurate. Excited announcements referring to hundreds of customers leaves a sense of great success when those customers have yet to go live with the solution and enjoy the benefit. The KLAS interoperability study added clarity regarding the traction of several specific solutions—Surescripts, Healtheway (eHealth Exchange/Sequoia Project), and FHIR to name a few. In exploring connections with the VA, SSA, and DoD, KLAS gained insight worth sharing.

Last spring, as we were chasing down connectivity experiences from over 240 provider organizations, we were asked to validate how many provider organizations were actually sharing patient data with the VA, DoD, and SSA specific to several vendors’ clients. We asked the vendors for lists of their clients that had such connections. One vendor reported several that were in process but not live yet. Another reported that six were connected, but after interviewing those clients, we found that none were live (though two were close). The third vendor reported more than 40 live. We contacted those organizations, and over 20 of them responded and reported that they were sharing data with the VA and/or the SSA through what they referred to as Healtheway, more specifically eHealth Exchange, which is part of The Sequoia Project. (Recent name changes can confuse those not plugged in, but providers routinely used the term Healtheway.) Many gave details regarding numbers of transactions and noted the general ease with which the Healtheway connection was put into place.

Of the over 240 organizations in the sample for our interoperability study, 10 organizations reported having valuable connections with the VA, SSA, and/or DoD, all through eHealth Exchange. Nine of those were using Epic, while one was using McKesson’s RelayHealth. 50% of the vendors questioned and over 40% of the provider organizations see eHealth Exchange as extremely valuable for the future. In November 2015, Mariann Yeager, The Sequoia Project CEO, described rapid growth in provider organizations actually live with connectivity through eHealth Exchange. Our interviews confirmed the live connectivity already in place as well as the intent of many large acute care organizations to implement eHealth Exchange. It is nice to see validity behind the public information. Surescripts is another player and solution for patient record exchange—they are already in use by many provider organizations and vendors, and over 60% of providers tagged them as extremely valuable for future exchange. These two groups have traction. What about CommonWell? I’ll drill down on that one next week.

NOTE: The eHealth Exchange is a group of federal agencies and non-federal organizations that came together under a common mission and purpose to improve patient care, streamline disability benefit claims, and improve public health reporting through secure, trusted, and interoperable health information exchange.