CommonWell newest to pledge TEFCA participation

The CommonWell Health Alliance this week said it will apply to become one of the first rounds of Qualified Health Information Networks as part of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

CommonWell plans to be among the first set of submissions. The Sequoia Project, TEFCA’s coordinator, released the final QHIN application this week, and said it aims to open the QHIN application portal on October 3, with an initial batch of QHINs announced together – and others later designated on a rolling basis.

The alliance of 75 technology vendors and other healthcare stakeholders touts its distinct bona fides to be a QHIN – whose architecture calls for a federated query model that leverages record locator services and a query broker.

That strategy is similar to the interoperability approach that Commonwell has developed and built out nationwide since first launching in 2013.

“TEFCA has the potential to increase the level of empowerment by individuals and their care providers by enabling them to get the data they need to make the best care decisions – something CommonWell has been focused on since day one,” said Paul L Wilder, executive director of the alliance.

“CommonWell is more than prepared to transition to QHIN status, help build TEFCA, and take the nationwide exchange of [electronic health information] to the next level,” he said.

CommonWell says it currently enables federated exchange of patient information across more than 27,000 provider sites representing 171 million individuals on its nationwide network.

Together with its CommonWell Connector – and collaboration connections such as the Carequality Framework – health systems linked to the network can exchange data with more than 50,000 other hospitals, specialists, clinics and other care providers.

More than 2.6 billion health documents have been exchanged across the network, according to CommonWell.

The Sequoia Project has been busy in recent weeks and months as it ramps up to the “operational phase” of TEFCA, issuing a flurry of onboarding guidance, standard operating procedures and fee schedules for organizations seeking to participate in the exchange framework.

Among those planning to sign on as QHINs so far in addition to CommonWell: Epic Systems, NextGen Healthcare and eHealth Exchange/CRISP Shared Services.

“We believe in the value of a nationwide health information exchange that will enable patients to access their health care data wherever they receive care – regardless of the IT systems being used by that facility,” said Sam Lambson, vice president of interoperability at Oracle Cerner, a founding member of CommonWell Health Alliance. “As a QHIN under TEFCA, CommonWell can further this mission of achieving ubiquitous health care records together with our fellow Alliance members.”

“We look forward to supporting QHIN connectivity for our customers as part of our broader interoperability offerings, which connect all players in health care – providers, payers, patients, and partners – so they can seamlessly exchange data and unlock actionable insights,” added Michael Palantoni, VP of product management and platform services for athenahealth, another CommonWell co-founder.

“Through the collaborative work of alliance members, CommonWell is giving [our] customers the solutions they need to meet the increasing needs for patient care, patient empowerment, and public health,” added Hoda Sayed-Friel, senior VP at Meditech, which joined the group in 2015. “I’m looking forward to seeing how our joint efforts continue to improve information sharing for providers and communities via TEFCA.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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