CommonWell Health Alliance to take network national

CommonWell Health Alliance continues to make interoperability more of a reality, announcing that five of its vendor members are going national.

Cerner, athenahealth, CPSI, Greenway Health and McKesson will take the network nationwide in 2015, according to the Alliance's April 9 announcement.

There are already more than 60 provider sites live on CommonWell services in 15 states; 2015 deployment will enable at least 5,000 providers' sites to be live. For instance, athenahealth alone is expected to make CommonWell services available at no additional charge to its entire cloud network of more than 62,000 providers. McKesson will offer CommonWell free to its entire base of Paragon customers in 2015; and Cerner will offer the services to clients for free through 2017 after payment of a nominal one time set up fee.

CommonWell services include patient identification, record location, patient privacy and consent, and trusted data access.

"CommonWell and its members are well on their way to making nationwide interoperability a reality," Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell, said in the announcement. "Member commitment to action is already producing real-world interoperability services, but this expands the benefits of data exchange across the health care continuum and across the country."

The Alliance announced five new members to its network last week. It now represents 70 percent of the acute care EHR market and 24 percent of the ambulatory care EHR market.

Notably, Epic Systems, which was recently singled out at a Senate hearing for operating a closed platform, is not a member of the Alliance.

The announcement comes in the midst of increased scrutiny of data sharing and interoperability. ONC released its much anticipated report on information blocking to Congress on April 10, citing both providers and vendors to blame for it. The report suggests a number of steps to combat such blocking, including governance rules deterring it, referring illegal business practices to law enforcement, incentives to interoperability, and provider education on HIPAA.

To learn more:
- read the announcement