Inaugural Data Usability Summit Supports Nationwide Movement for Enhanced Quality of Electronic Health Information
The Sequoia Project and AHIMA Convened Community of Practice To Make Real Progress Toward Improving Usefulness of Exchanged Health Data
VIENNA, Va. (September 8, 2023) — The Sequoia Project, a non-profit and trusted
advocate for nationwide health information technology (health IT) interoperability, just concluded a
first-of-its-kind Data Usability Summit that began mapping out plans and timelines for making
health data more useful to people and computers. The summit is part of the nonprofit’s Data
Usability Taking Root initiative launched earlier this year.
Summit attendees from healthcare and health IT organizations across the country convened to
discuss how they intend to implement the data usability guidance published by The Sequoia
Project Interoperability Matters Data Usability Workgroup. The guidance targets improvements
necessary for semantic interoperability of health information, beginning with the quality of clinical
data shared between healthcare providers.
“The energy in the room was palpable,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project.
“Organizations are stepping up and committing whole-heartedly to support and implement data
usability guidance in an unprecedented way. Once we solve the data usability challenge, we’ll be
able to move from simply sharing data to sharing information that can truly make the practice of
The event included attendance from organizations that have already committed to implement the
data usability guidance – organizations such as Azuba, Clinical Architecture, Delaware Health
Information Network, Epic, Health Gorilla, and MedAllies – as well as numerous others currently
evaluating how they might implement the guidance. In total, dozens of organizations have
pledged their support and are participating in this vital dialogue to improve the quality and
accuracy of data exchanged.
“Data usability at its root is about the availability, completeness, clarity, and portability of
information,” said Duncan Weatherston, CEO of Smile Digital Health, co-sponsor of the summit.
“We have to start with data – and the usability of data – to achieve goals like accessibility for people
everywhere, innovations that extend longevity and quality of life, and bending the cost curve of
The summit provided an opportunity for attendees to engage in discussions on data usability pain
points, vendor and customer impacts, and technical and organizational implementation readiness.
Summit attendees discussed likely starting points such as data provenance and traceability of
change, data integrity and trust, data tagging and searchability, effective use of codes, reducing
the impact of duplicates, and effective use of narrative.
“AHIMA’s mission is to empower people to impact health, and we can’t do that without making
data usable, accurate, and complete,” said Lauren Riplinger, chief public policy and impact ofcer
for American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). “We’re partnering with The
Sequoia Project on the Data Usability Taking Root initiative, the Data Usability Summit, and our
own data usability workshop next month to build momentum because this movement to
implement data usability guidance is critical to build the consistency across technologies necessary
to support the patients, caregivers, and providers relying on the data.”
“MedAllies has two decades of experience collaborating with clinicians using change management
for them to adopt interoperability – critical for optimal care. This is why MedAllies is fully committed
to supporting the Sequoia Data Usability Taking Root movement,” said Holly Miller, MD, internist
and chief medical ofcer for MedAllies, co-sponsor of the summit. “The Data Usability Taking Root
movement has the potential to improve care, the clinicians and patients’ experiences, while making
healthcare more efcient and less costly. Fundamentally, it comes down to having trusted, usable
interoperable data that we need to take care of patients when, where, and how we need it.”
Health and health IT organizations committed to making health data more useful can now join the
Data Usability Taking Root movement. For more information, contact The Sequoia Project at
About The Sequoia Project
The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, 501c3, public-private collaborative chartered to advance
implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. The Sequoia
Project focuses on solving real-world interoperability challenges and brings together public and
private stakeholders in forums, such as the Interoperability Matters cooperative, to overcome
barriers. The Sequoia Project is the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) for the Office of the
National Coordinator for Health IT’s Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement
(TEFCA). In this role, The Sequoia Project developed and will implement and maintain TEFCA’s
Common Agreement component and operationalize the Qualified Health Information Network
(QHIN) designation and monitoring process.
AHIMA is a global nonprot association of health information (HI) professionals with more than
67,000 members and more than 100,000 credentials in the field. The AHIMA mission of
empowering people to impact health drives our members and credentialed HI professionals to
ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Our
leaders work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business and are found in data
integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide.