One year ago today I saw the CEOs and Sr. Executives of 5 top HIT vendors put away their competitive nature and make a pledge to build seamless, plug-and-play interoperability into their products, all for the common good.

In order to turn this vision into a reality, technical teams from all the companies came together under the working group name Standards, Technology & Implementation Group to accomplish this pledge. At the time of our announcement at HIMSS 2013, our respective technical groups were excited, driven and likely a little apprehensive about what it would take to work across all these competing organizations. However, the teams rapidly came together as a cohesive unit, brainstorming and fleshing out core concepts and standards. We quickly committed to utilizing established standards wherever possible (e.g., IHE’s PIX and XCA profiles), and leveraging exciting new standards like HL7’s FHIR to achieve the more distinctive parts of our vision.

A year later we’re still just as excited. We’ve added new members to the Alliance and hope to welcome many more. We built, integrated, tested and rolled out the CommonWell services. Today, we are in production in 4 regions with 12 organizations and expect to expand quickly, proving out our approach.

Staffing the CommonWell booth this year was a great contrast compared to 2013. Last year, I spent a lot of my time explaining the purpose of CommonWell, our goals and our aspirations. This time, I was encouraged to find that our message still resonated strongly. Many people remembered the CommonWell announcement and were curious to find out what we’d be up to.

Almost everyone was impressed with our progress, and many had suggestions on what to focus on next. Many of the conversations I had focused on our technology and especially its use of FHIR. Most HIMSS attendees were excited by this REST-based standard and the power & ease of use it promises.

True to our values, we’ve released our specifications to the public. The Pilot Concepts document is a great place to start. After that, our Pilot Use Case and Services specifications await more dedicated readers.

We welcome your feedback and look forward to accomplishing even more this coming year!

Paul Clip is VP of Platform Services at RelayHealth and Standards, Technology & Implementation Group chair for CommonWell Health Alliance.