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Healtheway Debuts New Name, Strategy

Healtheway recently announced the organization has been renamed The Sequoia Project. Healtheway and its member-led board began the rebranding process after performing a multimonth evaluation of its mission and goals for the next decade. The organization's purpose has expanded dramatically since it was formed three years ago by industry and government, and today it serves as the neutral convener to advance HIT interoperability. The new name, The Sequoia Project, reflects its growth and better describes the capabilities of the organization as it contributes to significant expansion of HIT interoperability across the country.

"We chose the name, The Sequoia Project, because sequoia trees are among the largest and oldest on earth," says Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. "The name is aspirational; we're building something that can grow on a national scale and that can stand the test of time. The sequoia tree is also interesting because each tree can stand alone, but when there is a cluster of trees, their shallow root systems connect, supporting each other and accelerating their growth. Similarly, individual organizations and interoperability initiatives in health IT become much stronger and deliver more value by working together. That was also the rationale behind our new tagline: 'Connected We Stand.'"

The Sequoia Project's business model will remain similar to that of Healtheway's: namely serving as the convener for interoperability and serving as a home for industrywide interoperability initiatives that require a third-party steward working in the public interest. The Sequoia Project will continue to steward Carequality and the eHealth Exchange, and it intends to expand its list of initiatives in the coming year to incorporate additional interoperability projects as well as to promote widespread education about health information exchange (HIE) issues.

"The Sequoia Project cut its teeth on some of the biggest health information exchange projects in the country," continues Yeager. "We already operate the largest health information exchange network in the US, and we're making real progress on connecting all existing interoperability networks together through Carequality. The new branding signifies an even more ambitious goal; to encourage all health IT stakeholders to participate in exchange initiatives and expand those initiatives to cover an even broader spectrum of challenges standing in the way of securely sharing health data."

Increased Focus on Advancing Operational HIE
The Sequoia Project plans to extend its role within HIE to support critical initiatives and promote the operational use of interoperability. Specifically, the organization will center its activities around three primary areas: leading new operational data exchange initiatives, supporting collaboration across industry and government, and expanding education and research.

Member Support
"The Sequoia Project's tagline, 'Connected We Stand,' is a good way to express how we'll finally achieve the free, secure flow of information among caregivers, payers, and patients," says Michael Matthews, CEO of MedVirginia. "None of us can solve interoperability alone, but together, we can make enormous strides. We applaud the organization for thinking even bigger and taking a more assertive stance in its goal to address interoperability. The health care community needs it. We need a neutral party working in the best interest of the American people who can work with all stakeholders to build on the progress to date and get this challenge solved once and for all."

"WEDI has been collaborating closely with Healtheway for years given the complementary nature of our work," says Devin Jopp, president and CEO of WEDI. "Now that Healtheway has become The Sequoia Project, that partnership will continue. We will continue to feed each other's work with the goal of promoting interoperability on all fronts. We applaud The Sequoia Project for its focus on interoperability and its approach to creating a neutral forum for all contributing to this important work."

"The Sequoia Project is an essential voice in the community" says Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics at HIMSS. "As a nonprofit singularly focused on furthering the public's interest, its voice transcends the perspective of individual stakeholders to reflect an industrywide perspective on data exchange. It's important to have an organization serve in this role, working in collaboration with other like-minded organizations, because together we are working to improve individual and population health through the use of information technology."

"As a Sequoia Project member, Kaiser Permanente benefits from the collaboration fostered by the organization as well as from the best practices learned from other members trying to accomplish very similar work within their organizations," says Kevin Isbell, senior director of HIE at Kaiser Permanente. "The Sequoia Project plays an important role in the industry by bringing together individuals and groups and centering them on specific interoperability initiatives. The goal is to achieve true industry collaboration for the good of all involved."

"Interoperability will be a game changer in providing care, and the physician community eagerly looks forward to a time when patient records can be securely shared with other providers and patients, says Michael Hodgkins, chief medical information officer of the American Medical Association (AMA). "The American Medical Association has been engaged with Healtheway, now The Sequoia Project, because it's an organization that shows tremendous promise in helping us reach this goal by bringing together vendors, providers, physicians, and patients. This dedication to collaborative transformation of health care is central to its successes to date, and the AMA looks forward to seeing what can be accomplished through The Sequoia Project in the coming years."

Source: The Sequoia Project