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CommonWell Members to Build Healthcare APIs to Expand Service

Fourteen members of the trade association will expand CommonWell services by building healthcare APIs.

CommonWell APIs

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- CommonWell Health Alliance is set to expand as its existing services with agreements from 14 new members committed to building new healthcare application programming interfaces (APIs) for the health data exchange platform.

“Although there is still much to be done before achieving the ‘ubiquitous interoperability’ CommonWell Members seek, the collective pursuit of that mission by our Members has created a unique culture of collaboration,” said Executive Director Jitin Asnaani.

“That culture is both driving unrelenting execution and yielding innovations that are taking interoperability well beyond basic connectivity,” he continued. “Simply put, our Members want to do more and know that they can do it here, so we’ve secured the processes, guidelines and commitments to jumpstart their progress.”

Currently, CommonWell participants have access to services including person enrollment, record location, patient identification and linking, and data query and retrieval, which are presently live nationwide.

These new healthcare APIs will be especially useful for individuals interested in determining coverage for disability insurance, organizations investing in more effective care coordination, and communities looking to initiate public health programs.

Presently CommonWell boasts nearly 9,800 provider sites utilizing their services, including over 5,000 sites now live.

The next frontiers for CommonWell and its members are proactive notifications, life and disability care, and direct-to-provider exchange.

The proactive notifications CommonWell members have in mind would allow end-users to receive notifications whenever a patient’s data is available on the CommonWell network. It will also enable use cases particularly relevant for post-acute care coordination, care management, and public health.

Members already committed to developing these services include Cerner and PatientPing.

 “We see that when the full continuum of providers work together collaboratively – emergency room, hospital, rehab provider, home health agency – patients recover safely and return home after surgery or illness much more rapidly,” said Jay Desai, CEO of PatientPing. “PatientPing is so excited to be a part of the CommonWell initiative to break down existing barriers to true care coordination with the goal of improving care quality and patient outcomes. Together, we can accelerate the movement to bring care coordination across the entire country, in an effort to improve health care quality for all.”

Other CommonWell members are allowing providers to provide clinical chart information necessary for patients to qualify for life and disability insurance coverage and maintain control over their health record. The Social Security Administration and Cerner are both part of this enterprise.

Finally, direct-to-provider exchange will utilize CommonWell’s technology integration capabilities to develop principles and policies integrating CommonWell services into products and workflows of providers without Commonwell-enabled EHR technology.

CommonWell has made the progress recently toward improving interoperability among providers since its inception.

In late 2016, CommonWell signed on to implement the Carequality Interoperability Framework consisting of legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes. As part of this agreement, The Sequoia Project agreed to pursue future collaborations with CommonWell. This agreement was not only a practical step forward for interoperability in healthcare, but it also held bigger implications emblematic of the direction the industry was moving in.

 “This agreement is a significant step toward basic nationwide interoperability — for most of the major EHR vendors, you will be able to electronically request and retrieve a medical record from any other provider in the country from within your EHR,” said Mickey Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, in a guest contribution to Life as a Healthcare CIO.

Likewise, CommonWell’s recent expansion into four new areas of service in the healthcare industry represents progress for the organization of EHR vendors and EHR technology as a whole. 



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