April 13, 2015

Carequality Launches National Framework for Inter-Network Interoperability

Eleven Data Sharing Networks to Connect 200,000 Physicians through Carequality Framework

Chicago, IL – April 13, 2015 – Healtheway today announced the initial rollout of the Carequality framework for inter-network health information exchange. Eleven organizations, representing different types of data sharing networks, are part of the initial launch phase. State and regional health information exchange networks, vendor-based networks, and large integrated delivery networks (IDNs) are all participating.

The participating data sharing networks in aggregate connect over 2,000 hospitals and an estimated 40,000 clinics across all 50 states, with physician users numbering around 200,000. “These numbers demonstrate the power in connecting existing networks,” said Dave Cassel, Carequality Director.

“These data sharing networks are live, right now, with large numbers of users. With the Carequality framework, we can bring them all together and achieve massive scale right out of the gate.” “Carequality presents a great opportunity to significantly expand our network’s reach and provide increased value to our members and their patients,” said Laura McCrary, Ed.D, Executive Director of the Kansas Health Information Network. “We currently share data with other networks, but it takes time to execute data sharing agreements and negotiate compatible standards. In several instances it has taken years to share data across networks. Through Carequality, all types of networks come together with a common trust agreement and established technical standards. This will significantly reduce the time, cost and complexity currently associated with network-to-network connections.”

Carequality is the only healthcare collaborative effort across industry and government that is implementing a framework to connect networks, according to Healtheway CEO Mariann Yeager. “A single network can’t address all stakeholder needs across all scenarios. The eHealth Exchange, state and regional networks, and vendor-led networks such as CommonWell and Surescripts, will all play a role and will need to connect with each other. In the cell phone industry, you see multiple networks with the ability to make calls across carriers. Healthcare will need the same structure to enable a learning health system.” 

The promise of a robust digital health environment hinges on functional interoperability and expanding the flow of data that can be converted into actionable information for physicians. It’s a process that is too important to rush, according to Michael Hodgkins, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer of the American Medical Association and Chair of the Carequality Steering Committee. “We’re going to learn a lot over the coming months as the initial participants adopt the Carequality framework. Connecting 200,000 physicians is just the beginning; there will be many more as we expand beyond the initial rollout. There’s a responsibility that comes with that kind of scale, and we need to get it right. If it were easy, it would have been done a long time ago.”

The first phase of the rollout includes participation from:

  • Coordinated Care Oklahoma (CCO)
  • eClinicalWorks eEHX
  • Epic Care Everywhere
  • Greenway
  • HIETexas
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN)
  • Netsmart CareConnect
  • Surescripts
  • Utah Health Information Network (UHIN)

These pioneering networks are just the leading edge of the Carequality community that has come together to develop and implement the framework, and includes representatives from over 70 organizations across healthcare. These organizations include government agencies, standards development organizations, mental and behavioral health providers, health IT vendors, pharmacies, and many more. Representatives for payers, consumers, long term and post-acute care, and home care and hospice all have a voice. The initiative is a public-private collaboration that is answerable to all stakeholders.

“This agreement will be a game changer for patients and the physicians who care for them,” says Steven Lane, MD from Sutter Health in Northern California. “Each month, we make over 3.5 million queries for records at outside organizations using Epic’s Care Everywhere Network and exchange over 700,000 patients’ records. With the Carequality Framework in place, our search reach will expand exponentially across all kinds of different networks. This will be a tremendous help to expedite the right treatment and avoid unnecessary costs.”

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