ONC chief sees Carequality patient data exchange in action

Nationwide health data exchange across networks triples in two months
By Bernie Monegain
10:58 AM

Vindell Washington, MD, the National Coordinator for Health IT, visited healthcare clinics and a long-term care nursing facility in St. Louis Oct. 25 to observe data exchange across different EHRs and record locator services.

The exchange took place via the Carequality Interoperability Framework.

SSM Health – including the St. Louis-area outpatient center that Washington visited – uses an Epic EHR to receive patient files from multiple community partners who use NextGen, athenahealth, MatrixCare with Kno2 interoperability services, and eClinicalWorks with Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service.

Carequality announced live exchange in August, with 3,000 clinics and 200 hospitals live and ready for exchange. Today, the effort has grown to more than 150,000 clinicians across 11,000 clinics and 500 hospitals live and able to share health data records, regardless of the technology network, said Dave Cassel, director of Carequality, in a statement.

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

More than 50,000 care documents have been exchanged so far.

"What’s happening here in the St. Louis area is being replicated around the country," Peter Schoch, MD, vice president of Value-Based Care & Payment for SSM Health St. Louis, said.

"The exponential growth we’re seeing is a credit to the diverse stakeholders from across healthcare who came together and developed the framework specifically to be able to scale nationally and very quickly, by leveraging the existing investments and technologies of our implementers," Cassel said.

He explained that connectivity among diverse health systems and EHRs is possible because Carequality delivered the necessary legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes.

To date, the framework has been adopted by 15 healthcare organizations with dozens more reviewing it for adoption, according to Cassel.

Washington observed health data sharing at Midwest Nephrology Associates, Inc., SSM Health, and Mount Carmel Senior Living, all in St. Louis.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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