By Christine Kern, contributing writer
The expansion is expected to help support meaningful interoperability.
CommonWell Health Alliance has expanded, adding two new vendors and two new state health information exchanges as part of its effort to expand its provider network to 5,000 sites across the U.S. by the end of this year.
Vendors Caremerge, a developer of a cloud-based care coordination platform and T-System Inc., a provider of technology for episodic care are the newest members of the CommonWell family according to Healthcare IT News.
“From a technology perspective, interoperability is possible today; the real need is for vendors to band together and eliminate existing barriers to make it achievable at scale,” Roger Davis, T-System chief executive officer, said in a company statement. “We have a strong belief in the value of interoperability and a commitment to achieving interoperable systems that allow clinical entities to work better together so providers have the essential tools to deliver the best possible care to the patient. Rallying alongside CommonWell and partnering with other industry leaders was a logical next step to get more involved and drive change.”
Nick Knowlton, membership committee chair for CommonWell Health Alliance and vice president at Brightree added, “We are confident that as we continue to add members such as T-System, we can expand our coverage and accelerate the nationwide expansion of interoperability for providers and the people they serve.”
New HIEs include Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN), which offers integration with the national eHealth Exchange and the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA), which enables local coordination of HIEs across Texas. According to the organization’s website, more than 60 providers across 15 states were live on CommonWell services, including patient identification, record location, patient privacy and consent, and trusted data access as of April 2015
Founded in 2013, CommonWell aims to help healthcare providers find and share their patients’ medical information nationwide. “CommonWell is committed to improving healthcare interoperability across the nation and looks forward to discovering new ways to work together with respected and successful interoperability organization, such as MiHIN and THSA,” Knowlton wrote on the CommonWell blog.
“As a practicing emergency physician and in my work with hospitals across the country on EHR adoption, I see the effects of a closed-system culture every day,” said Robert Hitchcock, M.D., FACEP, chief medical informatics officer and vice president and general manager of physician solutions at T-System. “Mutual information sharing between EHR vendors will make it easier for physicians to obtain information that will ultimately improve quality of care and patient outcomes, while also generating overall improvement for the healthcare system.”