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Integration & Interoperability News

EHR Vendors Operationalize Carequality Interoperability Plan

Major ambulatory EHR vendors and health information exchanges are now live on the Carequality Interoperability Framework.

By Sara Heath

- Epic Systems, athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, and other major EHR vendors are among some of the recent adopters of the Carequality Interoperability Framework to go live with the information sharing resource, fostering better transmission of health data between EHRs.

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According to a recent press release, Epic, athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, HIETexas, NextGen, and Surescripts have all adopted the framework, which was released in December of 2015. Sites using any of those EHR vendors or health information exchanges (HIEs) are now able to seamlessly send and receive health data between health technologies.

The Carequality Interoperability Framework makes interoperability easier because it provides a universal set of legal standards, policy requirements, and technical specifications that apply to all framework adopters. This helps to quickly open new sharing networks and expand pathways for health data interoperability between various EHR vendors.

At Sutter Health, one of the earliest adopters of the Carequality Interoperability Framework, this boosted interoperability has helped improve care coordination between different healthcare facilities.

“Many of our patients also receive care from community providers utilizing a variety of EHRs,” said Steven Lane, MD, clinical informatics director of privacy and interoperability at Sutter Health.

When more EHR vendors adopt a framework like Carequality’s, it becomes easier for interoperability to support the kind of robust care coordinated necessary at hospitals like Sutter Health. According to Lane, more EHR vendor participation is integral to improving an interoperable health network.

“Carequality promises to remove historic barriers to sharing information between different vendors’ EHRs allowing patients’ information to follow them wherever they choose to receive care. We sincerely hope that all EHR vendors and existing HIE networks commit to implement Carequality’s straightforward framework to finally make interoperability a part of the standard way that we provide the safest most cost-effective care to all of our patients.”

New framework adopters are eager to see the benefits of this move. Better EHR integration will ideally help improve patient care.

“Carequality is a big win for patients and providers, and it will help promote continued innovation in interoperability,” says Dave Fuhrmann, vice president of interoperability for Epic. “By creating a vendor and platform-neutral framework that will evolve over time, the initiative supports secure health information exchange for patients without impeding development of new technology.”

This announcement will likely spur a spread of value-based care, an initiative reliant on robust EHRs and health data interoperability.

“Ambulatory providers, and the industry as a whole, need to build robust inventories of successful interoperability use-cases,” said Rusty Frantz, president and CEO of NextGen Healthcare.

“This go-live is a welcome catalyst to that process. Value based medicine requires that accurate information is easily shared and accessible, to the right care team and the right clinician, at the right time and place. That’s true interoperability and the cornerstone to having the information needed to improve community health and reduce the cost of health care.”

Presently, 3,000 clinics and 200 hospitals are working within the Carequality framework. These newest EHR vendor additions represent the largest suppliers for ambulatory EHRs and a 30 percent hold on the inpatient market. This expansive growth of Carequality’s framework principles is due in part because of the ease with which EHR vendors may adopt the framework.

“With a single unified health data sharing agreement built upon Carequality’s ground-breaking Principles of Trust, there is no more need to negotiate one-off legal agreements with individual data sharing partners,” said Carequality director Dave Cassel. “Carequality implementers – and their clients – can connect more quickly and easily than ever before.”

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