After decades of churn, burn, progress and regress, the forces of technology and business are slowly but surely zeroing in on what should have been obvious in the first place: health and care need to be centered around the Person.

When a patient or a provider wants to know the patient’s health and care history, they should not be limited to the data available on the local EHR. They should have easy access to a 3-dimensional view of the patient—which should include the patient’s health data from wherever care has occurred, along and across the health care continuum.

CommonWell Health Alliance is making this a reality. We are devoted to the vision that health data should be available to individuals and providers regardless of where care occurs.

Imagine you’re a care provider, and you want to get data about the patient in front of you. You could ask the patient for every location he/she has received care, then look up each one of those individually. But what if the patient forgets? Or what if he/she remembers their doctor’s name wrong? How hard is it going to be to find that data? How likely is it that the busy provider will expend all that effort to do so? And how much harder is all this when you go beyond the EHR — to the pharmacy, the lab, the imaging center?

The reality is that the ONLY chance of finding that data is if there is a preemptive effort that flips the problem on its head. Instead of starting out by asking the patient where they’ve been, you ask a search service to index all the locations of where the patient might have care records. The service would let you know right away that there were — say — 5 locations where this patient received care, which the patient can now verify, so that you could assemble a truly 3D view of the full Person. That’s a record locator service, and that’s what CommonWell provides, nationwide. And we’re building it into the HIT that care providers use every day.

Since its inception, I’ve actively participated across all of CommonWell’s Committees and workgroups. Day after day I’m impressed with the caliber of people with whom I work, the dedication that they show to our cause, and perhaps most surprisingly, the degree to which everyone is so willing to “check their corporate hats at the door” so that we can make crucial progress on a worthy vision.

A few weeks ago, after a thorough interview process, the Board of Directors of CommonWell offered me the opportunity to join the organization full-time, as its first Executive Director. It is such an amazing opportunity to meaningfully impact the interoperability landscape. And with the support of such tremendous industry leaders as the Members of the Alliance, I can hardly wait to get started.

CommonWell is harkening the coming Era of Person-Centered Health and Care. If you want to join me in fulfilling this mission, reach out to me at, join the conversation @Jitin and @CommonWell, and/or find me at HIMSS 2015 in Chicago. Let’s make this happen together.

Jitin Asnaani, Executive Director – CommonWell Health Alliance