Groups forge ahead with interoperability sans ONC

Stakeholders in health information exchange are not waiting on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability roadmap; instead they are taking their own steps to improve data sharing among electronic health record systems.   

Carequality, the initiative introduced by Healtheway in 2014, this week unveiled its Trust Principles as a framework for improving data exchange. More than 70 organizations, including providers, vendors and associations, belong to Carequality.

The Trust Principles include:

  • HIPAA compliance
  • Nondiscrimination against other Carequality implementers
  • Cooperation among members
  • Transparency of information handling practices
  • Deployment of connectivity only for permitted purposes
  • Local autonomy so long as the rules are applied consistently and don't unfairly or unreasonably limit interoperability

Carequality is not a super HIE; its focus is for members to agree how interconnectivity will work across different technology platforms.

At the same time, the CommonWell Health Alliance has announced five new members to its network, including MEDITECH and Kareo. CommonWell now represents 70 percent of the acute care electronic health record market and 20 percent of the ambulatory care EHR market, and is live in six states; more than 20 provider locations are using its services.

CommonWell is a not-for-profit trade association working to create universal access to health data.

"As a founding member of CommonWell, Cerner is excited to welcome additional health care technology partners to the alliance," Cerner's Bob Robke, a CommonWell Board Member said in a statement. "Today's announcement further illustrates that companies that traditionally have been seen as competitors can come together to advance and support something as important as industry-wide interoperability. We look forward to the growth opportunities that today's announcement creates and encourage all health care technology companies and their clients to join our effort to make the free flow of patient health information a reality."

The lack of interoperability among different EHR systems has been a sore spot in recent months. ONC recently released a draft interoperability roadmap to address the challenges in data sharing; the proposed rule implementing Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program also stresses interoperability.

To learn more:
- here's the CommonWell announcement
- read Carequality's announcement