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CommonWell Brings Interoperability Services to Post-Acute Care

Cerner Corporation, McKesson, and Brightree all joined CommonWell's post-acute care interoperability efforts.

By Sara Heath

The CommonWell Alliance, a private sector health IT interoperability coalition, has expanded its services to post-acute care EHR systems. Members of these new services include Cerner Corporation, McKesson, and Brightree.

This expansion will help bring better interoperability and health data exchange to a notable but seemingly underserved population. Annually, 10 million Medicare patients are discharged into post-acute care, and are treated in facilities like rehabilitation centers, nursing centers, long-term care hospitals, and into home care.

Considering the notable number of sites of care these patients visit, the amount of providers they may potentially see, and any chronic conditions they may be managing, it is important that all of their health data can be securely and interoperably sent from one provider to the next.

“This patient population typically requires care from multiple providers in a variety of highly divergent settings,” said CommonWell’s executive director Jitin Asnaani. “Our collective experiences across the continuum can help break down the barriers to cross-vendor HIT interoperability and make a dramatic difference in care coordination among ambulatory, acute and post-acute settings of care, with the ultimate goal of better patient outcomes.”

Reportedly low interoperability across post-acute care facilities is what spurred this expansion of CommonWell Alliance services. The alliance will help alleviate these issues by providing person enrollment, record location, patient identification and linking, and data query and retrieval.

CommonWell Health Alliance will start providing these services to post-acute care facilities through its partners starting in the first quarter of this year.

Interoperability is an important pillar of improving care coordination and allowing providers in disparate locations to securely communicate with one another regarding a certain patient case. Leaders from Cerner Corporation, one of the founding partners of CommonWell Health Alliance, report that the EHR vendor is eager to provide these services to its post-acute care clients.

“Our long-term care clients are eager to adopt CommonWell functionality,” said Cerner’s senior director of long-term and post-acute care Adam Laskey. “As care providers become more focused on care coordination, it becomes increasingly important to enable the exchange of clinical health data across the continuum. We are excited to be at the forefront of this industry shift.”

Executives from Brightree mirrored that sentiment, explaining that care coordination is a driving factor in providing quality care.

“Seamless transitions of care are absolutely critical to improving outcomes and containing cost, and in the brave new world of healthcare, that simply can’t happen without interoperable exchange of health information,” noted Brightree president and CEO Dave Cormack.

CommonWell has been expanding quite a bit in recent weeks. On February 11, the Alliance announced that it added six more members to the CommonWell Health Alliance, as eClinicalWorks, Modernizing Medicine, ImageTrend, lifeIMAGE, Mana Health, and MediPortal joined the program. The alliance also added one new general member in the Healthcare Informatics Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

“The diversity in our membership is representative of our commitment to reach the full continuum of care and to help ensure pertinent patient information is available to patients and caregivers regardless of where care occurred,” Asnaani said in a public statement.

In total, the CommonWell Alliance serves approximately 4,400 provider sites in all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. An additional 3,500 provider sites have committed to adopting CommonWell services in the near future. 




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