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CommonWell debuts option for expanded data connectivity

CommonWell Health Alliance is offering a new option for health IT vendors and provider organizations, enabling them to connect to its interoperability network.

CommonWell Health Alliance is offering a new option for health IT vendors and provider organizations, enabling them to connect to its interoperability network.

Through the new CommonWell Connector program, vendor and provider organizations already aligned with CommonWell now can offer CommonWell services to clients and to electronic health record systems and other IT platforms.

“With this new option, organizations 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,” says Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell Health Alliance, a vendor-led organization that embeds interoperability services into health information systems,

Connectivity via CommonWell will aid providers in meeting federal health information exchange performance measures for the CMS Promoting Interoperability and the 21st Century Cures Act programs, as well as forthcoming regulations covering data blocking and the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

Known as TEFCA, this agreement is intended to ease the flow of information between healthcare stakeholders and to expand patient access to their health data while allowing development of new technologies to improve care coordination, population health management and enable interoperability across disparate information networks.

Also See: CommonWell, Carequality aim to expand data exchange

“The underlying impetus is we want CommonWell to be available in any product that users use to care for patients and have interoperability,” Asnaani explains. “Two barriers will fall as providers drive interoperability not just via the EHR but though other services. For example, 30 percent of ambulatory practices don’t have an EHR and use service intermediaries. We want to make sure we can reach the providers where they are.”

The first two vendor clients to connect with CommonWell are InterSystems, a health information exchange serving larger organizations, and Health Gorilla, which serves small ambulatory practices and laboratories as well as large health care systems. The vendors now are getting certified and connecting their software to CommmonWell’s platform with an expectation of going live in late spring of 2019.

Many smaller EHR vendors may not have the software development bandwidth they need to connect with other entities, but soon they will be able to connect to CommonWell and expand their growth of connectivity with almost no work because most of the work will largely be done by CommonWell Connectors who are users already connected to the network and are serving as intermediaries to connect third parties, such as electronic health record vendors and other health IT vendors, Asnaani says.

CommonWell’s services soon also could be offered to other entities, including government agencies, according to Asnaani. For example, on February 5, CommonWell talked with federal agencies that are looking for enhanced connectivity to better support public health agencies.

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