Sequoia Project Tackles Payer Interoperability Rule Compliance

The Sequoia Project has announced a special edition of its interoperability rule compliance boot camp specifically for payers and health plans.

The Sequoia Project has launched a special edition of its interoperability rule compliance boot camp for health plans and payers. 

Clinical Connections: A 7-Week Interoperability Intensive for Health Plans will provide payers with an in-depth study of the Information Blocking Final Rule issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The curriculum aims to help payers understand the requirements of the ONC rule and how to use it effectively to achieve streamlined data exchange. The compliance date for the information blocking provisions was April 5, 2021. 

The program will also explore how the CMS interoperability rule affects health plan access to and use of clinical data.

“Hundreds of health systems, health IT developers, health information networks, and others have participated in our previous interoperability information blocking compliance boot camps,” Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project, said in a public statement.

“Health plans are affected not only by the ONC information blocking regulation, but also by adjusting to new CMS interoperability, transparency, and data access rules,” she continued. “It makes sense to collaborate with health plans and develop tailored training for payers, resulting in this Clinical Connections intensive.”

The Clinical Connections intensive will consist of two virtual meetings a week: one 120-minute classroom lecture and discussion, and one 60-minute open session with subject matter experts to allow for student-directed discussion.

Participants will receive access to exclusive online resources, such as practical tools for health IT implementation and compliance.

Registration is now open for the program’s October 6 start date. The intensive is free for full members of the Sequoia Project and costs $4,850 for associate members and non-members per organization, regardless of the number of staff attending.

The Sequoia Project serves as the ONC’s Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) for implementation of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) interoperability infrastructure.

In July, the nonprofit published a draft of the Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework (QTF) for stakeholder comment.

The technical framework focuses mainly on QHIN-to-QHIN data exchange requirements. QHINS, designated by the RCE, will act as the central connection points within the network-of-networks under the Common Agreement.

“The publication of the draft QTF for feedback is an important milestone as we look to live, in production, exchange under the Common Agreement in 2022,” Micky Tripathi, PhD, national coordinator for health information technology, said in a public statement.

“The QTF will also evolve to support new standards such as FHIR in the future and we welcome industry feedback on a proposed FHIR roadmap which will be released in the near future,” Tripathi continued.

QHINs will route queries, responses, and messages among organizations and patients sharing data through TEFCA interoperability infrastructure.

To serve as a QHIN under the Common Agreement, health information networks must fulfill certain requirements as outlined in the QTF, including strong privacy and security steps, processes to identify and authenticate end-users, patient discovery and identity resolution capabilities, and support for required data exchange protocols.

“Once this QTF is final and in production, that’s just the beginning,” Yeager explained in a press release at the time of the announcement. “The RCE will begin immediately developing the next iteration of this living framework, looking to future technological developments and needs, such as adding support for FHIR.”

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