The Next Step for Interoperability - Cover

The Next Step for Interoperability

Back in August 2018, an early few providers moved to test the connection between CommonWell and Carequality. For several months the industry has played something of a waiting game, looking to see when this connection would leave beta and become widely available.

In November of this year, that connection was made generally available. Two CommonWell-established Cerner sights KLAS spoke with validated their ability to access data from Epic sites through Carequality. For organizations who have spent years frustrated that Care Everywhere might have been more aptly named “Care-Onlywhere-Epic-is-live”, this connection becomes incredibly valuable for non-Epic sites.

However, it is too early to start the victory lap today. As others in healthcare have suggested – the path to interoperability is littered with “just barely enough” solutions. For one reason or another, it’s taken far longer than other industries to arrive at consistent, helpful data exchange.

Taking that grain of salt into consideration, I think that this most recent interoperability development is a little different. In this case, the value is driven in large part by the willingness of individual providers to make their own connection into CommonWell.

In KLAS discovered in their most recent interoperability report, every major EHR vendor has done quite a bit to ensure that making this connection is low-cost/low-effort for their customers. The notable exceptions being Allscripts – who recently announced they will be ready to connect to Carequality in 2019 – and MEDHOST without any live connections.

Still, this means that the majority of healthcare providers using a major vendor for their EHR can now, for relatively little expense, make serious inroads in terms of helpful data exchange.

current State of Plug-and-Play Patient-Record Sharing

The Last Obstacles

Ultimately, the CommonWell-Carequality connection will only be as effective as the provider community decides to make it. From where KLAS stands, the last barriers preventing widespread adoption are the decision-makers and governance of provider organizations themselves. Until vendors adopt an opt-out approach to data sharing, the onus rests on the providers themselves to proactively promote local connections.