Carequality, a consortium of more than 70 provider, payer, vendor, government and research organizations, has developed a set of core principles for connecting established health information networks to each other.

The goal is to have a common way to exchange data using standardized rules of the road, says Marc Chasin, M.D., CIO at St. Luke’s Health system in Boise, Idaho. “That’s where you get true interoperability. I can trust a recipient will handle information the same as I would.”

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Carequality is an initiative of Healtheway, which administratively operates eHealth Exchange, a public-private effort to develop the nationwide health information network. The exchange currently connects 30 percent of hospitals, says Dave Cassel, director of Carequality. But there are a lot of established data exchange networks across the nation and the focus now is to link them. Getting just six to 10 of the big networks together could cover half the county and be a good start, he believes.

Mariann Yeager, CEO at Healtheway, expects some organizations to be exchanging data under the initiative during 2015 and she envisions a rapid uptake.

Among others, the principals require HIPAA compliance even among members not subject to HIPAA, prohibit members from discriminating against other members to block interoperability, compel member cooperation to resolve disputes, make information handling practices transparent, and enable the honoring of local rules if they are consistently applied and do not unreasonably limit interoperability.

The complete set of principles, in detail, are here. Carequality will be exhibiting during HIMSS15 in Booth 8448.

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