Allscripts, Cerner, McKesson & Others Launch Interoperability Service

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CommonWell Health Alliance, which seven health information technology companies formed in early 2013 to cooperate on systems interoperability issues, will launch initial services in early 2014 in four regions.

The alliance, which continues to welcome other vendors to join, will start with specific provider organizations in Chicago, the cities of Elkin and Henderson in North Carolina, and Columbia in South Carolina. These regions were selected because of strong market share that alliance members have within them.

Founding members of the alliance are Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, Greenway, McKesson and Sunquest, with McKesson’s RelayHealth unit providing the health information exchange platform. These members, according to the alliance, represent 42 percent of the acute care electronic health records market and 23 percent of the ambulatory market.

Participating providers in each region use disparate EHRs. They will use a patient identity matching process the alliance has developed and patients will have the option to control access to their data through an opt-in process.

In Chicago, two group practices with a referring relationship and with privileges at Northwestern Memorial Hospital--multi-specialty Chicago Lake Shore Medical Associates and Lake Shore Obstetrics & Gynecology--will exchange health information using the alliance’s services.

All four Palmetto Health hospitals in Columbia, S.C., will participate in data exchange with ambulatory practices Midlands Orthopaedics and Capital City OBGYN. Hospitals also are participating in North Carolina with Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital and Hugh Chatham Family Medicine exchanging data from disparate EHRs in Elkin, and Maria Parham Medical Center sharing information with Premier Women’s Health Professionals in Henderson.

The alliance is not describing the rollout as pilot sites, saying they are launching production-level services, but does note that lessons learned at the initial sites will influence how to extend the program to other regions during 2014. They expect to present preliminary results in February during HIMSS14 in Orlando. More information on the alliance is available at

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