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MEDITECH Brings CommonWell Interoperability to VT Health System

MEDITECH has connected Northwestern Medical Center to CommonWell interoperability services.

Healthcare interoperability

Source: Getty Images

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Northwestern Medical Center of St. Albans is now live with CommonWell interoperability services thanks to MEDITECH, an critical member of the CommonWell Health Alliance.

“Northwestern Medical Center is excited to partner with MEDITECH and CommonWell to help our medical and clinical staff,” Chief Information, Innovation, and Compliance Officer Joel Benware. “We believe that this connection will enable us to have greater access to patients' information, therefore giving us better insight into their care and treatment.”

In the announcement, MEDITECH noted that approximately 11,000 providers across the United States and Puerto Rico had enabled the CommonWell services and the records of more than 45 million individual are available to participating providers.

“CommonWell congratulates MEDITECH for helping to expand the CommonWell footprint across its customer base,” said Jitin Asnaani, Executive Director of CommonWell Health Alliance. “I am proud of the dedication and tenacity CommonWell members have in breaking down data silos to improve the quality and safety of patient care delivery.”

Associate Vice President of Strategy at MEDITECH Lawrence O’Toole emphasized the importance of the CommonWell Health Alliance in accelerating the EHR company’s goals for improving data sharing.

“It's exciting to see a valued partner in Northwestern Medical Center deploy CommonWell services and to strengthen a flourishing network of healthcare organizations committed to interoperability initiatives. Interoperability is a foundational component of MEDITECH's vision for healthcare, and we'll continue to push for a more connected future,” he said.

Last July, MEDITECH celebrated a similar achievement, this time in Ohio at Alliance Community Hospital. The non-profit community hospital was part of the initial group of providers first to implement CommonWell services directly through its MEDITECH EHR system.

“We're excited to be at the forefront of interoperability breakthroughs and technical innovation in healthcare,” said ACH Vice President of Operations and CIO David Shroades. “Even more importantly, we're excited to bridge gaps in patient care, and deliver the best outcomes possible for our community.”

MEDITECH is the first health IT company part of the CommonWell network to deploy the Argonaut Project’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) specifications to customers to improve and document health data exchange. Through the use of FHIR, ACH providers will benefit from near real-time access to patient health information.

The Massachusetts-based EHR company announced the decision to begin deploying CommonWell interoperability services for users in June.

“CommonWell is excited to work with MEDITECH and other members as we continue to strive towards a reality in which there are no gaps in access and availability of patient data,” said Asnaani at the time. “MEDITECH's intention to deploy our services will help ensure we move even closer to that reality.”

In November, CommonWell Health Alliance announced its connection to the Carequality Framework was now generally available to all CommonWell members as part of an effort to improve interoperability nationwide, which famously enabled connections between Cerner (CommonWell) and Epic Systems (Carequality).

A KLAS report published before the close of 2018 found that the majority of EHR vendors with sizeable market share currently enabled providers to connect with CommonWell or Carequality, indicating the healthcare industry may be poised for a breakthrough in interoperability.

In its report, KLAS measured the progress EHR vendors have made toward enabling interoperability in the months since the organization its initial interoperability report in March 2018. At that time, MEDITECH and Allscripts had not yet activated a connection to CommonWell or Carequality.

Epic and athenahealth, on the other hand, were named the most successful EHR vendors regarding their ability to integrate their EHR product offerings with a single network for seamless health data exchange.

While more EHR vendors have made progress on allowing users to adopt connections to Carequality and CommonWell, Epic and athenahealth offer users the most straightforward, least-burdensome path to activating exchange capabilities.

“Plug-and-play sharing is virtually invisible and automatic,” noted KLAS. “Both vendors remove the big obstacles to your success.”

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