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Most EHR Vendors Have Enabled CommonWell, Carequality Connection

Most popular EHR vendors allow providers to connect to CommonWell or Carequality, representing progress for interoperability.

The majority of popular EHR vendors have enabled a connection to CommonWell or Carequality.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The majority of EHR vendors with sizeable marketshare currently enable providers to connect with CommonWell or Carequality, indicating the healthcare industry may be poised for a breakthrough in interoperability.

This finding comes from a recent KLAS report gauging the industry’s progress toward achieving interoperability through CommonWell and Carequality.

The report comes a month after CommonWell and Carequality announced the CommonWell-Carequality connection is now generally available to all CommonWell members.

As a result of the newly-established link between CommonWell and the Carequality framework, healthcare providers who have enabled the connection will have the capability to engage in bidirectional health data exchange.

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 enabled a connection to CommonWell or Carequality.

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

In the months since KLAS’ initial report was released, MEDITECH has established a connection to CommonWell and NextGen Healthcare users have begun adopting the Carequality framework.

“At this point, all of the most prevalent acute care/ambulatory EMR vendors except MEDHOST are connected to the national framework, putting the ability to exchange patient records within the reach of most acute care or clinic-based provider organizations, regardless of size or financial situation,” stated KLAS researchers in the report.

KLAS researchers also found the CommonWell-Carequality connection has been successful in allowing Cerner users to achieve interoperability with care sites that use Epic, and vice versa.

“Their initial reports are that the connection enables data sharing with critical partners otherwise out of their reach and adds tremendous value to their existing CommonWell exchange,” wrote KLAS researchers.

“The Epic sites involved indicate that they also are able to see and consume data via the new connection,” researchers continued. “This connection should be key in driving value and opening the floodgates so that any provider organization that desires to can exchange patient records with relative ease and little cost.”

While more EHR vendors have made progress on allowing users to adopt connections to Carequality and CommonWell, Epic and athenahealth offer users the simplest, 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.”

Cerner pushes customers to adopt CommonWell and will likely enable users enhanced access to patient health data as a result of the recent connection with Carequality.

NextGen and eClinicalWorks are making progress toward enabling bidirectional health data exchange.

“Since NextGen Healthcare made their bidirectional connection available in Q1 2018, customers have rapidly taken up connections to Carequality,” wrote researchers. “With 80 customers connected, there is still much room for additional uptake — though NextGen has removed both financial and technical barriers to make this a reality.”

The number of eClinicalWorks users participating in plug-and-play information sharing has nearly tripled since March 2018, according to KLAS.

Smaller vendors including CPSI are also taking steps to improve health data exchange and interoperability for users by integrating functionality into its Evident EHR offering that enables users to connect to CommonWell.

“With CommonWell and Carequality linked, the biggest technical obstacle to widespread patient-record sharing has been removed,” maintained KLAS. “The healthcare industry is rapidly approaching the point where an organization using any of the major acute care/ambulatory EMRs should be able to easily connect to other provider organizations with minimal cost and effort.”

The most significant remaining barrier obstructing health data exchange are governance issues and a lack of participation among community exchange partners.

“Even Epic and athenahealth customers report diminished value from their connection when local exchange partners opt not to connect to the national networks,” stated KLAS researchers.

“Until other vendors take an opt-out approach, you as an organization will have to be proactive in promoting local connections to these networks to ensure high value from your connection,” researchers concluded.

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