CommonWell broadens data sharing efforts

November 21, 2014 in Medical Technology

CommonWell Health Alliance is marching toward “a new phase” of its vendor-driven interoperability efforts, extending its availability to providers, signing on new corporate members and eyeing new opportunities for nationwide expansion.

[See also: CommonWell gets rolling on data exchange]

Earlier this year, CommonWell’s services were launched at more than 10 provider sites representing four different geographies. Since then, more than 20,000 people have opted to connect their records via CommonWell through their participating providers.

Now, CommonWell members have the option to enter into service agreements that offer a broader range of providers and their patients. Additionally, the alliance has locked in its relationship with founding member RelayHealth, whose health information exchange technology underpins CommonWell’s efforts.

[See also: CommonWell expands interoperability push]

That’s a “key milestone” in helping the private-sector initiative expand beyond those initial provider locations, officials say.

“CommonWell is changing the way our industry thinks about interoperability,” said Jeremy Delinsky, CommonWell’s chairman, and chief technology of founding member athenahealth, in a press statement.

“We are thrilled to announce a nationwide network to manage clinical information, promote greater access to health data and improve care across the continuum,” he added. “By making these services broadly available, CommonWell is empowering its members and their clients to facilitate better care coordination across disparate EHRs and care settings.”

So far, CommonWell members athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, Greenway and McKesson – who’ve already deployed CommonWell services at providers in Florida, Massachusetts and Washington – have signed formal agreements to offer their clients these data exchange capabilities nationwide.

“By using CommonWell’s services, our providers can see a patient’s health data using one interface rather than multiple point to point interfaces,” said Lee Powe, chief information officer of Elkin, N.C.-based Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, in a statement.

“In addition to improving the workflow,” said Powe, whose hospital uses technology from Greenway and CPSI, “it also means a significant return on investment for the whole system.”

From its initial six founding companies in early 2013, CommonWell is now up to 14 active members, representing many facets of care delivery – acute and ambulatory care, laboratory, retail pharmacy and perinatal and long-term care.

The most recent vendors to sign on are Aprima, CareCloud and OBIX by Clinical Computer Systems Inc.

Aprima, based in Carrollton, Texas, develops EHRs, practice management systems and revenue cycle management tools for physician practices.

“We’re pleased to join CommonWell Health Alliance’s efforts to enable providers to seamlessly and more securely share patient information,” said Aprima president and CEO Michael Nissenbaum, in a statement. “Increasingly, physicians want to leverage information technology to more easily and cost-effectively treat their patients and manage their practice.”

Miami-based CareCloud, which offers hosted EHR, practice management and patient engagement technologies, says it has long “advocated for openness in healthcare generally and among its technology vendors specifically,” according a website QA with its Founder and CEO Albert Santalo. “We believe that data liquidity – centered on the needs of patients – is essential for improving care coordination and efficiency.”

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