On The Issues

February 11th, 2014

A Year of Promise and Fulfillment

From Formation to Execution 

Onstage in New Orleans at HIMSS13, the CommonWell Health Alliance was announced. While presenting the goals and intent of the initiative, the five CEOs within the health IT industry were met with wide media reaction, praise from supporters such as the Bipartisan Policy Center, and admittedly, a dose of skepticism by a few.

Could these market competitors across acute and ambulatory segments live up to the embrace? Was it all for show? Could they really get anything done and so on.

I recall McKesson CEO John Hammergren deeming the Alliance an “inflection point in health care.” Now as HIMSS14 approaches and CommonWell plans to focus on announcements and initial successes in Orlando matching those goals and intent, I think we can call the combined achievements of the past year a tipping point.

In April of 2013, the Alliance made clear its mission of scalable, embedded cross-vendor data liquidity in a detailed comment letter to CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to the agencies’ Request for Information on Advancing Interoperability and Health Information Exchange, available in full on the CommonWell website.

In the succeeding summer, the Alliance grew in size and scope with the addition of Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI) and Sunquest Information Systems, joining co-founding members Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Greenway and McKesson, with further expansion that is expected to continue in the coming months.

And arguably, the biggest milestone to date was the announcement in December matching the prescribed timeline to launch a functionality program encompassing the specific and initial Alliance goals of streamlined patient consent and identity management, records location across encounter sites and data authentication.

Here previously disparate communities of health ranging from acute care and family practices to specialty medicine will advance interoperability across health system, ambulatory, urban, rural and laboratory settings. More on this project is to be detailed in Orlando.

Along the way the Alliance’s board, leadership and committee structures have been solidified. Our comprehensive Service Specification document is being finalized, built upon universal architecture profiles such as Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) protocols and HL7 standards widely in use throughout health IT.

I am proud of the Alliance accomplishments this year and look forward to the advancement of goals our entire industry shares around arming care providers with the means to succeed in new payment and delivery models that foster a sustainable health care system focused on improving patient outcomes and population health.

Justin Barnes, vice president – Greenway, was elected to the CommonWell Health Alliance Board of Directors in October 2013.

CommonWell Blog Post ~ http://commonwellcommunity.com/a-year-of-promise-and-fulfillment/