The Importance of Interoperability for Value-based Care

From Crawl to Run: Why the CommonWell and Carequality Interoperability Agreement Is Important Step for Value-based Care

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quotation marksThis partnership is a significant and cost-effective step toward breaking down the technology silos that are inhibiting interoperability.quotation marks

With the recent passage of the “21st Century Cures” initiative and focus on the ONC oversight rule, it is clear that the federal government wants to continue to promote and push interoperability as do we in the healthcare industry. Interoperability is essential for value-based care because having a complete patient record and just-in-time information provides an opportunity for more informed decision-making, a reduction in costs and higher-quality outcomes.

The CommonWell Health Alliance® and Carequality agreement, announced in December 2016, is a further example of private sector stakeholders taking a progressive role in the promotion of interoperability across the industry. The agreement is focused on improving health IT connectivity nationwide and creates an opportunity to connect hospital and ambulatory electronic health records (EHRs) with the broader continuum of care in a consistent way.

The agreement holds great promise for accelerating interoperability efforts in this country. Together, CommonWell members and Carequality participants represent more than 90 percent of the acute EHR market and nearly 60 percent of the ambulatory EHR market. More than 15,000 hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations have been actively deployed under the Carequality framework or CommonWell network. Combining Carequality's ability to connect organizations with the patient-centered focus of CommonWell expands the opportunity to make information available when and where it's needed most in order to make decisions that drive better health outcomes.

There are three aspects to the agreement’s ability to provide additional health data sharing options to a broad range of stakeholders across healthcare.

1. CommonWell will become a Carequality implementer on behalf of its members and their clients, enabling CommonWell subscribers to engage in health information exchange through directed queries with any Carequality participant.

2. Carequality will work with CommonWell to make a Carequality-compliant version of the CommonWell record locator service available to any provider organization participating in Carequality.

3. CommonWell and The Sequoia Project, the non-profit parent under which Carequality operates, have agreed to these initial connectivity efforts and will explore additional collaboration opportunities in the future.

The agreement also provides a further example of vendor communication. While acknowledging that it’s complicated to share information across disparate systems, many vendors, including McKesson, are making the commitment in order to promote true interoperability and offer the tools and services necessary to provide safe and secure exchange of information. We are creating a framework across the industry that provides true interoperability and empowers providers to improve and eliminate the perception of information blocking.

This partnership is a significant and cost-effective step toward breaking down the technology silos that are inhibiting interoperability. The next steps are to break down the policy and business challenges that also serve to inhibit interoperability. And as we continue to accelerate forward, it’s important to keep in mind that person-centered interoperability is not an end in itself. Instead, interoperability is a means to the end game of providing all patients and providers with access to the complete clinical care record across care settings for optimized care delivery, greater patient transparency and consumer empowerment as we fulfill the transition from volume to value.

What stage is your organization on the path to interoperability? Find the answer, as well as valuable insights on how to accelerate your pace, by downloading our new interactive model.

About Sally Love Connally

Sally Love Connally

Sally Love Connally is vice president of corporate strategy and business development. She is charged with leading the regulatory strategy team supporting MTS businesses. Connally has worked in the healthcare IT industry for more than 30 years. Previously at McKesson, she has held positions as a solution line manager for the document imaging business and other leadership roles in sales and sales operations, R&D, services and support.