CommonWell Health network passes 200M
The CommonWell Health Alliance now has more than 200 million patients enrolled in its nationwide interoperability network, comprising more than 60% of the entire United States population, the organization announced this month.
The milestone comes as the organization celebrates its 10th year of operations, becoming one of a small number of first-generation health information exchange (HIE) and interoperability entities to have made it past the tumultuous era of the EHR Incentive Programs.
“From a handful of providers in our first year to this significant number today, we’ve just kept working with our membership to grow sustainably nationwide,” said CommonWell Executive Director, Paul L Wilder.
The network is now gearing up to take an active role in the next phase of interoperability: the roll-out of TEFCA, he added. CommonWell is currently in the process of onboarding as a candidate Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN).
QHINs will act as centralized connection hubs responsible for routing information between other participating entities to form the “network of networks” that will bring enhanced interoperability across the care continuum. Other prospective QHINs include eHealth Exchange, Epic TEFCA Interoperability Services, Health Gorilla, Kno2, and KONZA National Network.
“What we’ve spent all these years building makes us exceptionally ready to help TEFCA succeed,” Wilder said.
CommonWell is likely to be well-positioned as a QHIN due to its Record Locator Service, which allows connected providers to conduct real-time searches of the entire network to identify and pull together comprehensive information on individual patients. The network currently exchanges approximately 40 million documents each week from more than 34,000 health networks and 208 million patients, the Alliance said.
“I commend CommonWell for reaching this impressive milestone,” said Micky Tripathi, PhD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “We are grateful that CommonWell stepped forward to become a candidate to meet the rigorous TEFCA eligibility requirements, the terms and conditions of TEFCA participation, and for their commitment to a 12-month go-live timeline.”
QHIN applications will need to complete rigorous technical testing before being officially designated as a QHIN, with an ideal one-year timeframe from having their application accepted. The process includes system configuration checks, conformance testing, and trials to ensure that each QHIN can interface with other QHIN entities. If the candidate receives a passing grade in all areas, they will be asked to complete at least one successful validation transaction within a month of approval – and then the network will go live as a QHIN for real.
“We look forward to continuing to support all the QHIN candidates as they continue through the onboarding process to improve interoperability for providers and the patients they serve,” added Tripathi.
Jennifer Bresnick is a journalist and freelance content creator with a decade of experience in the health IT industry. Her work has focused on leveraging innovative technology tools to create value, improve health equity, and achieve the promises of the learning health system. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.