In 2013, Cerner was one of seven companies that founded CommonWell Health Alliance. Today, Cerner, along with other CommonWell member companies, has helped bring more than 5,000 providers live on CommonWell services.

Circle Health was one of the first acute facilities to take CommonWell services live via Cerner. Circle Health quickly identified that many ambulatory practices in their network had the eClinicalWorks EHR in their offices and its physicians and patient population could benefit if eClinicalWorks participated in CommonWell. In 2016, eClinicalWorks joined CommonWell as a contributing member and quickly moved to building CommonWell services into its EHR to advance affordable nationwide health data sharing. Earlier this year, Circle Health and eClinicalWorks piloted eClinicalWorks’ first connection to CommonWell, which was implemented at one of Circle Health’s employed practices, Primary Care of the Andovers.

The Circle Health team shared their thoughts on how other sites working on similar integration projects could work with EHR vendors in their community to improve the sharing of health data for their providers and patients.

Why did you decide to initiate an eClinicalWorks connection through CommonWell?
Amy Quinn (Director): Within our community, we have a large footprint of eClinicalWorks practices. Circle Health’s Cerner environment had already connected to CommonWell and we have collaborated with eClinicalWorks on interoperability initiatives in the past, so engaging with them to connect to CommonWell was our next goal. We know that our physicians will find substantial value in CommonWell once eClinicalWorks practices are connected because they make up such a large portion of our community. We were thrilled when eClinicalWorks joined CommonWell as it allows Circle Health to become fully interoperable.

How did you go about working with eClinicalWorks to get connected to CommonWell?
Padmaja Sastry (Project Leader): We are always trying to figure out ways for our physicians to leverage the best interoperability tools, especially CommonWell. We were one of the first sites to implement CommonWell via Cerner, but we soon realized that one of the biggest EHR vendors within the ambulatory market in our community was not a member of CommonWell. Our leadership reached out to their counterparts at eClinicalWorks, encouraged them to use one of our employed practices as a CommonWell beta site and offered to work closely with them. This entire process took just a few months to materialize.

What is the benefit for Circle Health?
Amy Quinn: A significant benefit will be sharing the basic patient information within our community and is in line with our promise of providing complete connected care℠ to our patients. One of the greatest challenges I think any clinical setting faces is that ability to compile a true, complete list of medications that the patient is taking. We see CommonWell helping with this challenge.

What is your vision for your organization?
Padmaja Sastry: We want to be one of the most integrated systems in America. We try to advance this vision with all the interoperability projects we roll out in our community. The overall goal is to push the envelope to population management and to be the best community hospital we can be.

Would you recommend others to do the same and why?
Padmaja Sastry: Any community with a hospital that is served by a CommonWell member and has a significant overlap between the inpatient population and their physician practices using different EMRs can benefit from utilizing CommonWell. Making sure that the data the hospital is seeing is the same as what the physicians are able to see directly in their EMRs is a huge win for any community. That’s where the industry is going with EMR interoperability – platforms are opening up to work with others, not just to create connections between vendors, but in the end, to provide what’s best for the providers who care for their patients. Nothing is better than creating an interoperable network where information is flowing seamlessly and effortlessly.

For a list of which companies are currently members of CommonWell, please visit our Members page. If you don’t see your health IT company listed, we encourage you to reach out to your vendor contact and encourage them to join CommonWell. You can also refer them to our Membership Information page for more information.

To see which providers have committed to using CommonWell services, including the more than 5,000 live nationwide, please visit our Providers page.