Carequality, Commonwell to collaborate on health data exchange, interoperability

The goal is to expand exchange opportunities among healthcare providers across the country.
By Bernie Monegain
10:02 AM

The CommonWell Health Alliance and Carequality announced December 13 they will be collaborating on efforts to boost data sharing among healthcare providers nationwide, committing to work together on advancing interoperability.

The goal is to increase health IT connectivity and offer more inormation sharing options for hospitals and physician practices, officials said.

To understand the collaboration, it helps to think of CommonWell as a network – much like a telephone service provider, and to think of Carequality, which works under the Sequoia Project, as providing the framework – the rules of the road. Both are critical for data sharing.

The goal of the collaboration is to give providers easier access to more health information, when a healthcare provider is making a diagnostic or treatment decision, for example, and needs access to key medical information.

Here are the main elements of the collaboration, outlined by Carequality and Commonwell executives:

  • CommonWell will become a Carequality implementer on behalf of its members and their clients, enabling CommonWell subscribers to engage in health information exchange through directed queries with any Carequality participant.
  • Carequality will work with CommonWell to make a Carequality-compliant version of the CommonWell record locator service available to any provider organization participating in Carequality.
  • CommonWell and The Sequoia Project, the non-profit parent under which Carequality operates, have agreed to these initial connectivity efforts and will explore additional collaboration opportunities in the future.
  • The agreement between CommonWell and Carequality resulted from yearlong discussions between the two entities on how to improve connectivity, data sharing and collaboration, Yeager said.

"There was always collaborative dialogue in terms of how we wanted this work to come together," Mariann Yaeger, who heads the Sequoia Project, the parent of Carequality, told Healthcare IT News.

"But, the efforts were really in formative stages early on, and it grew to a point where once there was traction, momentum that it was time to figure out how to get these activities interconnected,"  she added.

[Also: Carequality says athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Epic, NextGen, Surescripts now exchanging data via Interoperability Framework]

"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," 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," he said.

Dave Cassel, director of Carequality, agreed. "Collaboration and inclusion are the keys to success in health data sharing and interoperability," he said. "Collaboration and inclusion are the keys to success in health data sharing and interoperability."

"We are glad to see so many organizations joining the Carequality community and participating in standards-based interoperability at a national scale," Epic President Carl Dvorak said in a written response to Healthcare IT News' request for a comment on the Care Quality-CommonWell collaboration.

On its website, Carequality has posted detailed answers to anticipated questions, definitions of terms and details about collaboration and membership.

Read the FAQs and responses here.

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