Frequently Asked Questions2023-03-27T15:15:57-05:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall CommonWell Questions

How does CommonWell work with other interoperability efforts?2023-03-27T14:12:32-05:00

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, Carequality, 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 also in the application process to become a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) and is looking forward to working with other potential QHINs to ensure the success of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator’s Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).

What differentiates CommonWell from other interoperability efforts?2023-03-27T13:27:40-05:00

The combination of network scale and the use of a Record Locator Service (RLS) is an important distinction for CommonWell. The RLS allows a provider organization linked to CommonWell to search the entire nationwide network in real time to gather comprehensive patient data—not just data from a limited geofenced location as other networks and frameworks offer. Watch to learn more.

What progress has CommonWell made since its founding in 2013?2023-03-27T13:26:42-05:00

CommonWell services initially rolled out in four states less than two years after our foundation in March of 2013. 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 14,000 provider sites live on its services. Today CommonWell has more than 34,000 provider sites live, 201 million individuals in the network and has retrieved more than 3.9 billion records. CommonWell was also recently announced as one of the six potential QHINs as part of TEFCA.

CommonWell marked its 10-year anniversary in 2023. Learn more here.

How to Participate

How does an organization learn more about joining CommonWell Health Alliance?2023-03-27T14:16:20-05:00

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.)?2023-03-28T09:02:45-05:00

The Alliance is open to all organizations who are aligned with 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?2023-03-27T14:19:07-05:00

Participation in CommonWell enables Members to shape the direction of the Alliance and help drive the future of nationwide interoperability. Members who take the next step to connect to the CommonWell Network, work with our service provider to build the capability to exchange health data into their software. This allows connected providers to work within their existing workflow and access all available health data on enrolled individuals in real-time. See this in action.

Connect to the Network

What are the service profiles and technology standards that CommonWell utilizes?2023-03-27T15:19:16-05:00

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. Learn more at

How are CommonWell services different than those offered by other vendors and groups?2023-03-27T14:20:54-05:00

CommonWell Health Alliance was one of the first vendor-led, health IT interoperability initiatives of its kind. CommonWell members build the capability to exchange health data into their software, which enables health care practitioners to work within their existing workflows.

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.

The combination of network scale and the use of a Record Locator Service (RLS) is an important distinction for CommonWell. The RLS allows a provider organization linked to CommonWell to search the entire nationwide network in real time to gather comprehensive patient data—not just data from a limited geofenced location as other networks and frameworks offer. Watch to learn more.

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

Does CommonWell Health Alliance maintain a central copy of people’s clinical records?2023-03-27T14:21:36-05:00

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?2023-03-27T14:22:05-05:00

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?2023-03-27T14:22:33-05:00

No. Neither CommonWell nor its service provider are 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?2023-03-27T14:23:00-05:00

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?2023-03-27T14:23:26-05:00

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?2023-03-27T14:23:59-05:00

CommonWell members have rolled out CommonWell services at provider sites in all 50 states, D.C. and US territories including 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?2023-03-27T14:24:35-05:00

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?2023-03-27T14:25:13-05:00

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 via the CommonWell network?2023-03-28T09:03:14-05:00

Some of our CommonWell Service Adopters have options for individuals to access their own CommonWell-available records directly from a certified patient portal, consumer application or personal health record (PHR). Visit to learn more.

I see my provider on the list of CommonWell Connected providers. Why can’t I see my health data from those providers when I use one of your Service Adopters’ certified applications?2023-03-27T14:27:04-05:00

While all providers are required to have a method to electronically share an individual’s patient records, they may not have chosen to use CommonWell services for this purpose. CommonWell Connected providers must opt into releasing records to patients using CommonWell services. If you are not seeing your health data from your listed provider, we encourage you to speak to your provider and ask them how you can access the health data they have on you and whether they plan to offer access via the CommonWell network and partners.

Carequality Connectivity

How does the CommonWell connection to Carequality work?2023-03-27T15:02:54-05:00

By connecting large health systems, clinics, specialists and many more care venues shared on the Carequality framework, the CommonWell-Carequality connection allows providers to access patient data beyond the CommonWell Network.

CommonWell was certified as a Carequality Implementer in 2018 and now connects its participating members via the CommonWell network to other participating Carequality Implementers. In turn, participating CommonWell member companies can offer this service to their CommonWell-enabled provider sites, allowing them to connect and bilaterally exchange health data with Carequality-enabled health care providers to improve care coordination and delivery.

To see which CommonWell members are participating, please look for the “Connection to Carequality Available” notation on our Members page


What is TEFCA?2023-03-27T15:16:46-05:00

The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, or TEFCA, is a federal initiative that aims to create a national backbone of organizations called Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs) that will connect to each other to improve nationwide data exchange.

How is CommonWell involved in TEFCA?2023-03-27T15:12:33-05:00

CommonWell has been a long-time supporter of TEFCA. TEFCA exemplifies what CommonWell has been trying to do from the beginning—break down barriers that inhibit effective nationwide health data exchange with the ultimate aim of improving health outcomes.

In February of 2023, CommonWell was one of six entities approved to continue the application process to become among the first networks to function under TEFCA as Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs) that will eventually connect together to promote nationwide health data exchange.

What quality makes CommonWell a unique QHIN applicant?2023-03-27T15:16:16-05:00

One of the qualities that makes CommonWell a unique QHIN candidate is its Record Locator Service—which allows a provider organization linked to CommonWell to search the entire nationwide network in real time to gather comprehensive patient data—not just data from a limited “geofenced” location which some other networks and frameworks rely on. Watch to learn more.

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