CommonWell connects with Carequality, marking a significant step in data sharing

Doctor on computer
The Commonwell-Carequality connection will give hospitals a framework to exchange records regardless of their EHR. (Getty/Vladdeep)

It just got easier for healthcare providers across the country to share medical records regardless of which EHR vendor they use.

After a short delay, CommonWell Health Alliance announced on Friday that its connection with the Carequality Framework is generally available to all members. The connection, which launched in a limited capacity in July, now connects some of the biggest EHR vendors including Cerner and Epic, which dominate the acute care hospital market.

“We are proud to break down yet another barrier to interoperability by making this much-anticipated connection available to our members and their clients,” Jitin Asnaani, CommonWell Health Alliance executive director, said in a statement. “This increased connectivity will serve to empower providers with access to patient health data critical to their health care decision-making.”

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Epic and Athenahealth joined Carequality in 2016. Cerner was one of seven companies that founded CommonWell in 2013. The two organizations agreed to connect in 2016. The connection launched in “limited rollout mode” in July with 200,000 documents exchanged since then.

RELATED: Carequality reports a spike in records exchanged, but CommonWell connection still limited

With the connection now generally available, hospitals will be able to exchange patient records, integrate new medications and include data from outside medical providers.

“Now that we’re able to get patient information across disparate providers through the CommonWell-Carequality Connection, I think it will reduce hospital readmissions,” said Roneisha Ward, director of Health IT at Carolina Family Health Centers, a Greenway Health client with locations throughout North Carolina. “By knowing what was done on the other end, we aren’t duplicating work in labs and referrals and patients don’t have to spend lots of time and money outside of the clinic. It’s a win-win for the patient, the organization and the hospitals.”

A KLAS report earlier this year said the combination would “create instant value for most areas of the country,” in part because Epic has a 95% adoption rate for Carequality.

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