Skip to main content
Image: [image credit]
Photo 109924392 © Tero Vesalainen |

Inaugural Data Usability Summit Supports Nationwide Movement for Enhanced Quality of Electronic Health Information

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 healthcare better.”

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 care.”

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 officer 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 officer 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 efficient 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