What is Carequality?

What if you had a cell phone plan that only allowed you to call other customers of your carrier?  That’s the situation for most healthcare providers today, when they join a data sharing network.

The networks provide connectivity, but only within their membership, which often follows geographic or technology vendor lines.  This connectivity can provide significant benefits, but falls short of the potential value if networks could be connected.

Carequality has brought together the entire healthcare industry to overcome this challenge by providing a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to enable exchange between and among health data sharing networks. Carequality brings together a diverse group of representatives, including electronic health record (EHR) vendors, record locator service (RLS) providers and other types of existing networks from the private sector and government, to determine technical and policy agreements to enable data to flow between and among networks, platforms, and geographies, much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks.

Essential Elements

What is needed to enable this sort of widespread connectivity, without individual pre-coordination with each partner?  There are three core elements:

ico-roadCommon rules of the road: In order for the varied participants to trust each other with health information, everyone needs to have a legal obligation to abide by the same rules.
ico-technicalWell-defined technical specifications: Shared rules are not enough; clear standards must be laid out in an implementation guide that all implementers can follow.
ico-directoryA participant directory: To connect using the common standards, systems must know the addresses and roles of each participant.

Carequality is implementing each of these pieces, as the core of a practical, operational framework for connecting the country through existing networks.

The comprehensive Carequality Interoperability Framework consists of multiple elements, including legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes, which operationalize data sharing under the previously approved Principles of Trust. The Framework is now available for health information exchange networks, vendors, payers, and others across the healthcare ecosystem to adopt, providing a practical approach to unlocking previously unseen levels of connectivity.

 

Our Guiding Principles

As we pursue our work, Carequality strives to be:

  • Inclusive and transparent
  • Flexible and innovative
  • Clear and equitable in its oversight
  • Standards-based
  • Vendor neutral

 

How We Work

 

Carequality Process