CommonWell Connector Program offers new way to connect with interoperability network

By Mike Miliard
04:59 PM
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Certified integration platforms and intermediaries enable new connectivity options for health systems and technology vendors who aren't currently CommonWell members.

Providers that currently are currently live with CommonWell Services. (Image: CommonWell Health Alliance)

CommonWell Health Alliance on Tuesday announced the new CommonWell Connector program, which offers access to the data exchange network for care providers and electronic health records who may not necessarily be CommonWell members.

WHY IT MATTERS
Through the program, specific CommonWell vendor members who make integration platforms can offer the alliance's interoperability services to their customers, officials said. Those EHR companies who link up via a connector wouldn't be required to become a CommonWell member or certify their products on its network, because the member serving as the connector will have a certified product and act as an intermediary.

CommonWell said it will enable certified CommonWell Connectors to "minimally pass-through its flow-down terms to their connected EHRs while enabling those CommonWell Connectors to include additional services, as needed by their customers."

This will be useful for hospitals and health systems looking to manage the requirements of an array of new regulations, such as the CMS Promoting Interoperability Programs and the Trusted Exchange Framework & Common Agreement.

Among the CommonWell members who are the first CommonWell Connectors: Health Gorilla and InterSystems, each of whom plans to roll out connectivity service later this year.

InterSystems will allow users of its HealthShare suite to link up with CommonWell, getting a more "comprehensive view of the patient (that) drives care toward the triple aim," said Don Woodlock, vice president of HealthShare for InterSystems.

Health Gorilla CEO Steve Yaskin said that broader access to clinical data can help "rally the entire ecosystem to improve access to high quality care, especially in underserved markets like Puerto Rico."

THE LARGER TREND
As it stands, CommonWell, whose members include some of the biggest EHR vendors and their health system clients, offers a wide footprint for its interoperability services. In combination with Carequality – the two rolled out general connectivity to their members this past November – the hope is, when that connection is fully live, some 80 percent of physicians will be able to share data, irrespective of which EHR they use, as Micky Tripathi (who sits on the board of both CommonWell and The Sequoia Project, which oversees Carequality) explained.

There's clearly big value in such a network, allowing the "ability to exchange patient records within the reach of most acute care or clinic-based provider organizations, regardless of size or financial situation," as KLAS put it this past December, in a report encouraging more providers to sign on with those efforts. The new CommonWell Connector Program offers another way in for those hospitals and practices who may not yet be full-fledged members.

ON THE RECORD
"The CommonWell network enables participating practitioners to meaningfully engage in data exchange to provide the best care possible for their patients," said CommonWell Health Alliance executive director Jitin Asnaani in a statement. "With this new option, organizations interested in connecting to CommonWell, such as EHRs, can dramatically reduce the development effort required to connect to the CommonWell network and enable their clients to participate in – and derive value from – this data sharing."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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