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Taskforce Focuses on Post-COVID Interoperability Lessons

Analysis  |  By Scott Mace  
   January 19, 2021

The Sequoia Project kicks off group made of HIEs and health systems with focus on how healthcare interoperability can benefit public health.

Lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will inform a new task force formed by The Sequoia Project, a nonprofit advocate for nationwide healthcare information interoperability.

Sequoia’s new Emergency Preparedness Information Workgroup will use these lessons to recommend appropriate steps for making information more available to support disaster preparations in the future.

State-related policy and regulatory issues, programmatic challenges, data privacy, funding, resources, and communications are some of the interoperability and health IT challenges where the new workgroup will focus.

The new workgroup will also serve as a forum for states and other stakeholders to share lessons learned and best practices. Ultimately, the workgroup will also suggest recommendations to improve interoperability for disaster prep.

“States and local agencies, such as public health agencies, have had to rapidly adapt to unforeseen circumstances caused by the current pandemic,” said Debbie Condrey, chief information officer of The Sequoia Project and facilitator of the workgroup.

“With this new workgroup, we’re aiming to apply the lessons learned to improve timely access to information to support emergency preparedness for the future,” Condrey said. “We look forward to working together to find solutions to the interoperability challenges facing states during these unprecedented times.”

The initial participants include representatives from California Emergency Medical Services Authority, the California Association of Health Information Exchanges, CommonSpirit, Florida HIE Services, Florida Health, the Georgia Health Information Network, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Texas e-Health Alliance, and the Texas Health Services Authority. Several key federal partners will also participate, The Sequoia Project said in an announcement.

Beginning this month, the group will meet monthly. The work output of the group will include:

  • Lessons learned from response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to health IT and interoperability
  • Prioritized opportunities to address issues that impede public health access to information for disaster response efforts
  • Community of practice where public health, Medicaid, and other state entities and federal partners can discuss innovations and blockers to those innovations

More information on The Sequoia Project’s Emergency Preparedness Information Workgroup can be found on the organization's website.

Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

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