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Making it real

From the beginning, CommonWell Health Alliance has always been about doing something real. Serving real care givers; with the data they really need; to care for real people. That has always been, and continues to be, our goal. It humbles me to see the great amount of work our member companies are putting forth to further our shared mission.

In the first half of this year, we tackled a big “boulder” in making national interoperability a reality, by recruiting a number of key HIT organizations into the Alliance. In fact over the course of 2015, our membership grew such that we now represent 70% of the acute care market place and roughly a quarter of the ambulatory marketplace, and a substantial presence in other care settings as well.

While that might itself be a notable achievement, what I am most proud of is the work our Alliance has put forth towards our primary initiative in the second half of 2015 — helping our members to “Deploy, Deploy, Deploy.” And have they ever. Through the diligent work of our members over the last six months, more than 1,200 provider sites across 49 states have gone live with CommonWell Services and have already generated nearly 30 million queries against our services. And there are an additional 6,000 sites that have already committed to CommonWell Services. And with that, we have become the first and only national network to facilitate patient-centric query and retrieve of clinical chart data, without any reliance on point-to-point exchange. Not bad for our first 6 months on the job!

Looking beyond the raw numbers, as a group I also think we have learned some critical lessons in scaling cross-vendor interoperability, especially these last few months as deployments started in earnest. A former business school professor of mine once said: “All real learning happens in the market.” Never has that statement rung more true than right now, as we started our nationwide rollout. We are breaking new ground in truly operationalizing patient-centered interoperability at our scale…a scale in which everyone from the very smallest single-doctor practices to the very largest health systems (and even states!) can meaningfully participate in health data exchange.

I am thrilled with the way we have grown, the real progress that we have made, and the lessons that we have learned that are going to make a difference. But I am even more excited about what we have on the horizon: existing and newer members enabling these services for their care provider clients, thousands of clients planning to bring CommonWell Services live, and millions of patients benefiting from the secure exchange of data to their care providers.

Looking to 2016, deployment and consequent value to providers will probably continue being our #1 priority. But we’ll also have a new topic that becomes a top priority: enabling data to follow the patient across the continuum. In 2015, our Membership doubled and our 34 member companies now span a diverse range of clinical of care settings well beyond just acute and ambulatory, including health IT market leaders in imaging, perinatal, emergency department, EMS, laboratory, retail pharmacy, oncology, care management, patient portal, and post-acute care, not to mention state and federal governments.

As such, in 2015, we began work to build out our services to extend CommonWell Services across the continuum. As we enter 2016, stay tuned as we look towards turning on more and more of these settings and continuing to center care around the person.

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