Two join CommonWell Health Alliance

Bring focus on community hospitals, lab systems to data liquidity project
By Mike Miliard
09:02 AM
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CommonWell

CommonWell Health Alliance announced this week that Mobile, Ala.-based CPSI and Tucson, Ariz.-based Sunquest Information Systems are the two latest vendors to sign on to the interoperability organization.

As the first new members since the group was launched at HIMSS13 this past March, Sunquest and CPSI join Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Greenway, McKesson and RelayHealth in working toward interoperability and data liquidity between disparate IT systems.

With more than three decades focused on the rural and community hospital setting, CPSI has implemented EHR systems in more than 650 small hospitals nationwide.

Sunquest, meanwhile, focuses on IT services specific to laboratory and diagnostic facilities, working with more than one-third of the hospitals in the United States.

CommonWell's goals include cross-entity patient linking services to help providers match patients as they move among care facilities; access management tools to help with HIPAA-compliant sharing authorizations; and patient record locator and directed query services to help providers deliver patient encounter histories and share data.

Sunquest and CPSI join the alliance as CommonWell member companies are working to establish its governance structure and IT standards, develop its services and plan its upcoming 2013 pilot program, officials say.

"We're glad to be part of CommonWell Health Alliance to achieve data liquidity as a critical foundation for delivering better-coordinated, more-effective care," said CPSI president and chief executive officer Boyd Douglas in a press statement. He added that his company's experience with community and critical access hospitals "ensures that this important segment of the healthcare system is represented in CommonWell's interoperability efforts."

"Sunquest is proud to be a member of CommonWell Health Alliance and excited to be part of this movement," said Sunquest President Richard Atkin in a press statement. "Lack of interoperability across laboratories, hospitals and ambulatory offices and difficulty in patient matching during that effort threatens the physical health of our population and impairs the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system."

[See also: Q&A: McKesson and Cerner execs discuss CommonWell Health Alliance]