Interoperability nonprofit The Sequoia Project takes aim at health IT disaster response

The Sequoia Project, a nonprofit focused on healthcare interoperability, unveiled plans to spearhead a nationwide health IT disasters response platform May 7.

The platform builds on a California-based project known as the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies, or PULSE. The California project — conceived by experts from the ONC and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response — is composed of a data-sharing network that can be "switched on" during an emergency, such as a tropical storm or wildfire.

The overarching idea behind the project is to connect every healthcare provider through PULSE. However, the connections would only be live during a natural disaster.

Under its nationwide deployment plan for an expanded PULSE platform, The Sequoia Project convened a public-private advisory council of representatives from federal and state governments, emergency response organizations, health information networks, and provider organizations. The advisory council will evaluate California's experiences with PULSE to inform the platform's implementation in other states.

"Disasters and other events are unpredictable and disruptive and place unique demands on public health, private sector healthcare, first responders and other key resources," Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project, said in a May 7 statement. "People need seamless healthcare, whether for emergency care or just uninterrupted prescription access, when they are displaced by a disaster."

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