//Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions2019-01-15T15:27:08+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall CommonWell Questions

How does CommonWell work with other interoperability efforts?2018-12-31T18:02:40+00:00

We believe our efforts are complementary to many of the other interoperability efforts that exist today. CommonWell supports and works with other health IT initiatives, such as HIMSS, DirectTrust, eHealth Initiative, NATE, The Sequoia Project, The Argonaut Project and HL7 — all of which are contributing to the enhancement of true interoperability in unique and valuable ways. CommonWell is primarily focused on nationwide deployment of a secure vendor-neutral interoperability network centered on individual health data.

What progress has CommonWell made since its founding in 2013?2018-12-31T18:02:00+00:00

In its first five years, CommonWell went from having seven Founding Members and a road map to offering interoperability services to 80 members and more than 11,000 provider sites live on its services. CommonWell services initially rolled out in four states less than two years after our foundation. One year later, we had five member companies actively deploying the services nationwide. In 2016, we expanded our services beyond just traditional EHRs to post-acute and patient-directed access. We ended 2017 with more than 8,000 provider sites live across a multitude of care settings. In 2018, CommonWell made strong inroads in expanding access to health data, offering its members access to the Carequality Framework via the CommonWell network.

How to Participate

How does an organization learn more about joining CommonWell Health Alliance?2018-12-31T18:03:21+00:00

For more information about joining CommonWell, visit our Membership Information page. We also recommend reviewing our Bylaws and our Membership Agreement. To learn more about utilizing CommonWell Services, see our Service Adopter page.

Can non-vendors join CommonWell (i.e., payer, health system, other alliance, etc.)?2018-12-31T18:03:46+00:00

The Alliance is open to all organizations who are aligned in our vision to make health data accessible, helping to improve care coordination and health outcomes. Members today range from health systems to non-profits, government agencies to health IT vendors and much more. For more information about joining CommonWell, visit our Membership Information page.

What are the health IT vendor and customer benefits of participation in CommonWell?2018-12-31T18:04:19+00:00

Participation in CommonWell enables Members to shape the direction of the Alliance and help drive the future of nationwide interoperability. Members who take the further step of connecting to the CommonWell network, build the capability to exchange health data into their software, allowing providers to work within their existing workflow for expeditious, cost-efficient implementation of CommonWell services. This incorporation of access to CommonWell services moves them towards true, nationwide interoperability with their provider customers and the people they serve.

Connect to the Network

What are the service profiles and technology standards that CommonWell utilizes?2018-12-31T18:05:00+00:00

CommonWell leverages existing standards that members use to enable scalable, secure and reliable interoperability. Our service provider has built access to the services using the incumbent IHE standards (e.g., PIX for patient identity, XCA and XDS.b for locating and retrieving patient data) as well as the more modern HL7 FHIR-based standards (i.e., RESTful interfaces, such as the IHE MHD profile), thus allowing members to choose their preferred approach to connect to the network.

How are CommonWell services different than those offered by other vendors and groups?2018-12-31T18:05:26+00:00

CommonWell Health Alliance was the first vendor-led, health IT interoperability initiative of its kind. CommonWell members build the capability to exchange health data into their software, enabling health care practitioners to work within their existing workflow.

From a solution-specific perspective, CommonWell services focus on solving the foundational needs of record location, patient record matching and linking, as well as federated query of data at national scale. CommonWell services collectively allow individuals and caregivers to find and access records associated with a patient regardless of where the care was delivered.

No single vendor can solve industry-wide interoperability on its own, which is why CommonWell relies on its diverse membership across the care continuum to improve cross-vendor interoperability nationwide.

Does CommonWell Health Alliance maintain a central copy of people’s clinical records?2018-12-31T18:06:12+00:00

No, CommonWell does not maintain a central copy of clinical records. That data remains within the provider HIT system where it was collected. CommonWell services will provide identification and matching that facilitate trusted data sharing among member systems.

What type of health data is exchanged?2018-12-31T18:06:36+00:00

Currently, CommonWell facilitates the exchange of structured chart and encounter data, formatted as Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (CCDA) documents. CommonWell also enables the sharing of clinical narratives and notes. Other types of health data (e.g., Advanced Directives) are expected to be shared over time.

Does CommonWell sell data?2018-12-31T18:07:01+00:00

No. Neither CommonWell nor its service provider is allowed to sell data that is transmitted with the CommonWell services.

If the care provider’s EHR developer is participating, how can that provider begin to benefit from Alliance members’ services?2018-12-31T18:07:53+00:00

Contact your EHR vendor representative to be notified when CommonWell services will be available. Care providers contract directly with health IT suppliers for the EHRs and other health technology services to ensure accurate patient data collection and improved patient outcomes.

What if the care provider works with more than one member of the Alliance?2018-12-31T18:08:19+00:00

Care providers might utilize multiple products that are connected to CommonWell Services, enabling access to their patient’s records in multiple systems.

Who is Connected

Where are CommonWell services being used?2018-12-31T18:12:44+00:00

CommonWell members have rolled out CommonWell services at provider sites in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. For a list of where our services are live, visit our Who is Connected page.

How can people find out if their care provider uses CommonWell services?2019-01-14T00:24:29+00:00

Visit our Who is Connected page for a map and list of care providers across the country who are currently connected to CommonWell services.

For the Patient

How can people find out if their provider uses CommonWell services?2019-01-14T00:27:10+00:00

A list of many CommonWell-enabled provider sites can be found on our Who is Connected page, but we encourage you to also ask your health care provider to find out if they are connected to the CommonWell network.

Can a person access their health records shared on the CommonWell network?2018-12-31T18:16:13+00:00

Some of our CommonWell Service Adopter members are working on introducing a way that would allow a person to self-enroll and access her available patient records via a patient portal or Personal Health Record. Stay tuned to the For the Patient page and our blog for updates as they are available.

Carequality Connectivity

Are there any providers currently live on the CommonWell Carequality Connection?2018-12-31T18:18:11+00:00

Yes, there are several provider sites who participated in the initial deployment of the connection and continue to leverage the connection today. All current Carequality-enabled providers will automatically have the ability to exchange with CommonWell-enabled providers as they opt-in to participate in the CommonWell-Carequality Connection.

Will all CommonWell Adopters (those who are currently offering CommonWell services) be able to immediately use the connectivity?2018-12-31T18:18:29+00:00

As with any Carequality implementer, CommonWell is required to pass down terms to end users. As a member-driven organization, CommonWell is passing these terms through to its members, who in turn, offer the CommonWell-Carequality connectivity to their participating providers. On announcement of General Availability (GA) in late 2018, CommonWell Members who currently have agreed to utilize the CommonWell-Carequality Connection included Brightree, Cerner, Evident, Greenway Health and MEDITECH. To see which CommonWell members are currently participating, please look for the “Connectivity to Carequality Available” notation on our Members (link) page.

Will participating CommonWell Adopters’ provider clients be able to immediately use the connectivity?2018-12-31T18:18:52+00:00

There are likely to be software configuration steps that would need to be completed for each Member’s clients to utilize the service and exchange data. While timeframe may vary, once those steps are completed, the CommonWell-enabled providers will be able to bi-directionally share data through directed queries with Carequality-enabled providers. For CommonWell-enabled providers, data exchanged through the CommonWell Carequality Connection will seamlessly appear alongside data received from within CommonWell.

Will all other Carequality Implementers and their clients – known as Carequality Connections – be able to immediately use the connectivity?2018-12-31T18:19:11+00:00

Current and future Carequality Connections do not need to take any special action to connect to CommonWell sites beyond their normal existing Carequality workflows to share with any other Carequality Connection.

What does General Availability mean?2018-12-31T18:17:32+00:00

General Availability (GA) means that CommonWell has completed all its necessary technological, legal and operational efforts to deem it feasible to extend the CommonWell Carequality Connection offering to its Members and their clients. In turn, participating CommonWell members will determine when they are comfortable making the CommonWell Carequality connection GA for their clients.

When will the CommonWell-Carequality connection be generally available?2018-12-31T18:17:52+00:00

The connection to Carequality via CommonWell is now generally available for deploying CommonWell members to subscribe to and, in turn, offer it to their participating providers.