KLAS report shows a lot is riding on upcoming Carequality, CommonWell partnership

Computers connecting
The upcoming CommonWell Carequality partnership will "create instant value" for providers, a KLAS report said. (Getty/TCmake_photo)

A new report from KLAS research reveals notable disparities between EHR vendors when it comes to “plug-and-play” record sharing, placing more importance on an upcoming industry partnership that could fill in some of those interoperability gaps. 

Friday’s report found a lack of adoption is a “major hurdle” for CommonWell Health Alliance, in part because CommonWell vendors require providers to onboard one at a time. Limited adoption has compromised the value for health systems that are unsure whether other providers in their area have joined the network as well.

CommonWell boasts 8,000 provider sites, a 60% increase from 2016, CEO Jitin Asnaani wrote in a blog post on Thursday. But the KLAS report said the platform has “a tendency to overmarket the level of adoption,” creating “apprehension and lack of trust among potential participants.”

“It sounds really good on paper, but in reality, that 8,000 is spread across the entire country,” Coray Tate, vice president of clinical research at KLAS told FierceHealthcare. “Some of those are one-doctor practices that don’t bring the same amount of data as a health system.”

RELATED: Industry groups zero in on implementation timelines, data blocking and patient matching in TEFCA feedback

KLAS’s analysis indicated that when given the choice, more patient records are being shared over the Carequality network because Epic is a chief participant. For example, Athenahealth is connected to both initiatives, but 81% of records are exchanged through Carequality.

That’s why an upcoming partnership between CommonWell and Carequality, a network-to-network trust framework, is so critical. Initially announced in December 2016, CommonWell members have secured clients to pilot test the combined network and “bi-directional directed queries will be generally available” between the two organizations this summer, Asnaani wrote in his Thursday post.

According to KLAS, that partnership will “create instant value for most areas of the country” since Epic has a 95% adoption rate for Carequality, and records sharing between Epic users is already universal.

“We’re rather bullish on the fact that the country is really pretty close to exchanging records more efficiently than we ever have been before,” Tate said.

RELATED: HIMSS, EHRA urge ONC to tap existing models for Trusted Exchange Framework

The report drew some criticism from vendors, including Allscripts, which does not share through CommonWell despite being a founding member. In a blog post on Friday, CEO Paul Black called the report “short-sighted” because it looked at connectivity exclusively through the lens of plug-and-play services.

“While there is room in the industry for a variety of approaches to interoperability, the report missed the opportunity to include in its analysis the value to the clinician and the ability to harmonize data or remove duplicate data elements,” he wrote. “Simply sharing information between two different organizations isn’t enough.”

Tate agreed that the report was narrowly focused and acknowledged that Allscripts has some “very specific and very good health information exchange products.” But he said those often come at a high cost to providers.

“[Plug-and-play] solutions are much less burdensome than point-to-point,” he added.