News Feature | January 12, 2017

Collaboration Aims To Boost Data Exchange, Improve Interoperability

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Total Data Market Could Total $115 Billion By 2019

Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance join forces to further interoperability.

Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance have collaborated to boost data exchange and improve interoperability among providers. As part of the partnership, CommonWell will implement Carequality’s interoperability framework, allowing its members and clients to share data with any provider in the Carequality network. Initially, the collaboration will focus on allowing providers to request and retrieve patient records electronically from other providers more easily, but could be expanded to other areas within health IT, according to group spokespersons.

“Collaboration and inclusion are the keys to success in health data sharing and interoperability,” explained Dave Cassel, director of Carequality. “The Carequality Interoperability Framework was developed by a group of diverse healthcare stakeholders, including members of CommonWell, determined to establish health data sharing as the standard of care by powering connectivity between and among health data networks of all types. With the promise of heath data sharing across Carequality’s participating networks and the CommonWell network, we continue to advance toward that goal. It’s a win-win-win for patients, providers, and their networks.”

Interoperability has been a central focus of the ONC, as demonstrated by the release of its 10-year Roadmap designed to deliver improved care and protect EHR data.

“HHS is working to achieve a better healthcare system with healthier patients, but to do that, we need to ensure information is available both to consumers and their doctors,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “Great progress has been made to digitize the care experience, and now it’s time to free up this data so patients and providers can securely access their health information when and where they need it. A successful learning system relies on an interoperable health IT system where information can be collected, shared, and used to improve health, facilitate research, and inform clinical outcomes. This Roadmap explains what we can do over the next three years to get there.”

This collaboration paves the way for the majority of the country’s hospital and ambulatory EHRs — as well as the broad continuum of care including long-term care, imaging, behavioral health, and retail pharmacy — to have the option to connect in a consistent way. CommonWell members and Carequality participants represent more than 90 percent of the acute EHR market and nearly 60 percent of the ambulatory EHR market, with over 15,000 hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations actively deployed under the Carequality framework or CommonWell network.

“To achieve nationwide interoperability that truly improves patient care, two things are required: collaboration across the healthcare industry and the will to take real action. We’re doing both,” said Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell Health Alliance. “Our vision has always been for a patient’s health data to follow him/her regardless of where care occurs, and in turn give providers and caregivers increased access to critical health data when and where it is needed. We believe this connectivity between CommonWell and Carequality will continue to move the country forward on its path to achieving nationwide data exchange by bringing together such a sizeable majority of providers and patients that there will be no turning back for American health care.”