About CommonWell Health Alliance
The industry has long recognized the importance of health care data interoperability. It is a cornerstone of health care’s future, as interoperability helps improve quality, reduce costs, enable regulatory compliance and ensure better access to health care for millions of people.That’s why now is the time for the health care industry to move beyond merely recognizing the importance of this issue and take action to move forward. It’s time for health care IT organizations to come together and commit to achieving interoperability for the common good.
The CommonWell Health Alliance will be designed to be an independent not-for-profit trade association organization open to all health information technology vendors devoted to the simple vision that a patient’s data should be available to patients and providers regardless of where care occurs. Additionally, provider access to this data must be built-in to EHR technologies at a reasonable cost for use by a broad range of healthcare providers and the patients they serve.
Mission - What the CommonWell Health Alliance Plans to Deliver
The CommonWell Health Alliance plans to promote and certify a national infrastructure with common standards and policies and will ensure that products that display the CommonWell Health Alliance seal have been certified to work on the national infrastructure. Among the early core components of the national infrastructure, CommonWell Health Alliance will define and promote the following core services and standards:
- Patient Linking and Matching - Provide a way for vendors to identify patients as they move from setting to setting, in a robust and seamless industry-wide data environment.
- Patient Access and Consent Management - Foster a HIPAA-compliant, patient-controlled means to simplify the management of consents and authorizations for data sharing.
- Record Locator Service and Directed Query - Enable providers to match the locations of a patient’s previous health care encounters, no matter where the encounter occurred, and gain access to that data in an industry standard way.
Purpose - Why Build a National Infrastructure and Services?
CommonWell’s purpose will be to solve the longstanding industry problem of interoperability.Together with other industry members, we will pursue the simple vision that a patient’s data should be available in a secure, trusted manner to the patient and the patient’s care providers regardless of where care occurs. We will seek to improve care quality and foster innovation by creating an open, vendor-neutral platform to break down the technological and process barriers that currently inhibit effective health care data exchange.Our current health care delivery system lacks an easy, affordable way to allow the frictionless movement of patient-centered data across all settings of care and among all health care IT systems. The technology landscape is fragmented and builds significant barriers to creating a single, unified view of the patient for the entire healthcare team and managing patient consent at scale.We believe that this problem of interoperability is best solved by forming an industry consortium to adopt common standards and protocols to provide sustainable, cost-effective, trusted access to patient data. We further believe this capability should be available across vendors and delivered “out of the box” to our clients and end users, relying on a national infrastructure to implement the services in a consistent and reliable way to ensure their ubiquity.
The founding members of CommonWell Health Alliance understand the sensitivity of protecting health data and other personally identifiable data associated or shared with healthcare providers. The founding members of CommonWell Health Alliance will be committed to supporting interoperability that requires robust privacy and security for all data exchanges through the alliance certified services. Our intent is to design services and specifications with privacy as a key consideration addressed in the adopted services or specifications. The CommonWell Health Alliance and its service providers will utilize appropriate physical, technical and administrative safeguards and precautions to secure protected health information. These technical safeguards will require encryption whenever PHI is in transit or at rest. Services and specifications adopted by the CommonWell Health Alliance will strive to improve transparency to enable providers of care and patients to understand permitted uses, access and disclosure of protected health information and to facilitate the management of authorizations and consents in a manner that protects the privacy of the patient.