Each year, several members of the CommonWell Health Alliance technology-oriented committees [Use Case, Standards Technology and Integration Group (STIG), Deployment and Utilization, and Privacy and Security] take part in our Spring Technology Retreat. This year, more than 50 of us came together at MEDITECH in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to share knowledge, learn from one another and collaborate in a meaningful way to advance interoperability as an Alliance.

As leaders of the STIG, Deployment and Utilization, and Use Case committees, we especially look forward to this retreat because of the invaluable opportunity it offers for us to sit down with our peers to share opportunities and triumphs of our interoperability efforts while working through solutions together.

In our committee working sessions, and as a greater group, we traversed many subject areas over the course of just two days. We explored new ways to facilitate a smooth onboarding experience for our newest members. We did a deep dive into techniques we can all use to continuously measure and improve the performance and scalability of the network. We deliberated on how we, as members, can harmonize on standards to continue improving the quality of documents exchanged through the network. And, we honed our approach for continuing the growth and value of our network for providers and patients.

But more than anything, the retreat once again reinforced our shared mission and vision, and truly embodied the culture of the Alliance, where members are collaborative, inclusive, focused and ultimately accountable for advancing health information exchange.

For example, we took part in a group discussion that encouraged members to collaboratively think through issues that could potentially affect everyone on the network. It included real examples and resulting insights regarding the impact all sources have on the network knowingly or unknowingly. In essence, a rising tide lifts all boats, but a pain point for one of us can become a pain point for all of us if we don’t do our due diligence. This reminded all of us that as an Alliance, we have a responsibility to the greater good, as well as to our own organizations.

Additionally, with a few providers among our ranks, we also had the unique ability to bring the provider perspective to the table for many of the key discussions around increasing value to the patient and provider. Ready access to their feedback and perspectives as both members and as end-users of CommonWell interoperability solutions allowed us to fine-tune our strategies, and in turn, bolster the strength of offerings from our Alliance.

Above all, we have always strived to foster the collaborative spirit that is at the heart of what CommonWell is and does. This spirit was certainly alive and well at the Spring Technology Retreat, and the direction we are moving in as a team inspires both excitement and optimism about the future of our Alliance and our industry.

Robert Cruz is CTO at CPSI and chairs the CommonWell STIG committee. Jonathan Oladitan is Manager and Interoperability Solution Leader at Cerner and co-chairs the CommonWell Deployment and Utilization Committee. Andrew Wright is Senior Product Manager at Change Healthcare and co-chairs the CommonWell Use Case Committee.