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Big-Name HIT Vendors Adopt Data Sharing Practices

Carequality, an initiative of The Sequoia Project, recently announced initial implementers of the Carequality Interoperability Framework released in December 2015. The companies are athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Epic, NextGen Healthcare, and Surescripts.

The five organizations have agreed to provide health information exchange (HIE) services for their customers under the comprehensive framework, which consists of legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes. The framework is an operationalization of the groundbreaking Principles of Trust to enable nationwide HIE.

"The adoption of the Carequality framework represents a major leap forward for nationwide interoperability," explains Dave Cassel, director of Carequality. "By these organizations committing to unified Rules of the Road, they are simplifying system-to-system connections to make data exchange easier for a significant portion of the health care ecosystem."

The initial implementers of the Carequality Interoperability Framework—and their clients—will benefit from accelerated, less costly health data sharing agreements, because they no longer need to develop one-off legal agreements between individual data sharing partners. These HIE partnerships are able to leverage existing networks and business relationships to rapidly expand. For example, most physicians already have access to a small network through a technology vendor or an HIE. These existing health data sharing opportunities will dramatically expand to include additional providers, payers, government agencies, and others as the Carequality community grows.

The initial implementers will focus first on query-based exchange of clinical documents, but the framework was developed to support an unlimited variety of use cases.

"athenahealth believes that physicians should be allowed to focus on patients, not the hassles of coordinating care," says Doran Robinson, vice president of network integration for athenahealth. "We're thrilled to join other major players in reducing the legal and regulatory barriers that impede the development of a national health information backbone that connects care settings, regardless of vendor or service provider."

"eClinicalWorks is the largest cloud EHR in the nation and we are dedicated to improving the delivery of health care," explains Girish Navani, CEO and cofounder of eClinicalWorks. "We continue to promote interoperability and enhance the patient experience. The Carequality Interoperability Framework is an exciting initiative to aid our customers in sharing pertinent health data and providing better care."

"The Carequality framework is a testament to health care vendors' commitment toward making seamless interoperability a reality for patients and providers," says Dave Fuhrmann, vice president of interoperability for Epic. "Shared rules and guidelines are going to make it possible for all of us to dramatically increase the number of connections we have across systems to make care safer and more efficient."

"Securely sharing health data across health networks creates the kind of informed and empowered care system required for a successful transition to value-based medicine," says Rusty Frantz, president and CEO of Quality Systems Inc. "As industry leaders we're making true progress in nationwide data exchange and look forward to using the Carequality framework to make the right information easily accessible, to the right care team, the right clinician, at the right time and place."

"Through the Carequality framework, Surescripts is breaking down legacy barriers and collaborating with other industry leaders to make nationwide health care interoperability a reality," says Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts. "We are excited to increase the reach of our network and unleash the power of our National Record Locator Service to enable nationwide data sharing to improve patient care."  

Source: The Sequoia Project