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CommonWell Health Alliance Adds EHR Vendor to Health Data Exchange

Customers of EHR vendor MEDHOST can now access and share records through the CommonWell health data exchange network of 34,000 clinical sites.

EHR vendor MEDHOST has joined the CommonWell Health Alliance network to advance health data exchange.

CommonWell Health Alliance operates a health information exchange (HIE) network of 34,000 clinical sites and about 191 million registered patients.

Through the partnership, MEDHOST customers can now facilitate the transfer and access of patient information across the CommonWell network.

"We've always been committed to enhanced care coordination for our partner hospitals," Ken Misch, president of MEDHOST, said in a press release. "Our integration with CommonWell Health Alliance greatly simplifies the exchange of health information between healthcare entities, benefiting both providers and patients."

Patients can choose to have their medical information securely shared with CommonWell Health Alliance network providers during pre-registration or check-in. By opting in, patients allow clinicians to retrieve medical histories from other CommonWell Health Alliance participants through a single click within the EHR.

Access to accurate patient medical histories, including allergies, home medications, and problems, is key for care coordination. CommonWell integration helps ensure that providers across the care continuum can easily access health information for clinical decision support.

Other benefits of CommonWell integration include the following:

  • Automatic retrieval of the latest documentation for clinical review
  • Auto-response to requests for CCDA documents from other facilities
  • Assistance in meeting the 2022 IPPS measure for bi-directional communication with Health Information Exchanges (HIE)

Recently, ONC designated CommonWell Health Alliance as one of six qualified health information network (QHIN) candidates for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).

TEFCA aims to create a network of networks to support national healthcare interoperability.

According to Paul Wilder, executive director of CommonWell Health Alliance, TEFCA's goal is similar to what CommonWell set out to accomplish when it formed ten years ago. 

"The way TEFCA is designed was kind of our vision from the beginning," Wilder told EHRIntelligence in an interview last month. "The primary difference is TEFCA acknowledges there are multiple versions of CommonWell that should interoperate, and we have zero issue with that. There has to be some level of consolidation to make this work."

"We're not inherently hyper-competitive about this," he emphasized. "QHINs are going to compete, and that competition is there to keep us honest and make sure we're providing better services every day. There's enough growth for everybody, and we're looking forward to everybody being the best QHIN they can be and making this TEFCA thing work."

Wilder likened TEFCA to a "national highway" for HIE, which should streamline interoperability efforts. Currently, health IT vendor participation in interoperability networks varies, which can be confusing for healthcare organizations.

TEFCA will be the final destination for health data regardless of vendor, similar to how cell phones can connect no matter the carrier, he said.

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