July 5, 2014 Leave a comment
There are two national, multi-stakeholder collaborations towards interoperability of health information: CommonWell and Carequality. This article does a great job of providing the background and context as well as some of the details about how these two initiatives are different:
“CommonWell’s focus is narrower – it was created to focus solely on the data transmission needs of different EHR vendors. Carequality, in contrast, is working to set up one EHR framework that providers can access nationally.
In an interview with Kenneth Kleinberg, a managing director at Advisory Board Company, Kleinberg used the analogy of telephone standards to describe CommonWell’s mission: [“Vendors] need to have a certain kind of connector, accept a certain voltage, and modulate the message in a standard fashion…CommonWell seeks to become a directory service for patient identity and consent…a directory of which providers a given patient has seen.”
Carequality isn’t taking the same approach. Healthecare, from which Carequality sprung, sought to build an EHR framework, or repository, from where providers can pull patient health records, so that if a man from El Paso, Texas breaks his leg in Eugene, Oregon, all the interested parties can access the man’s health records.
Carequality is brand new and their mission is less defined. But they say they intend to build consensus on “how to accelerate seamless health information exchange” that will transmit information based on a common framework the same way that “banks came together to connect ATM networks.” To do so, the alliance has recruited more than just vendors – it extends its reach to providers, insurers, and pharmacy chains, among others.”
Where I am still a little bit confused after reading through those explanations a few times is how those mission statements will actually interact with each other when they inevitably butt heads in the real world. Time will tell if/how these efforts will succeed. At the highest level, they will serve as a test of whether industry can progress on its own or if it needs government regulation in order to focus.
One area that is right on the horizon (if not here already) is the role of data standards in consumer health information management. As the article explains, there are currently not any standards provided in the Meaningful Use program that outline how patient information generated at home can be incorporated into the clinical environment. There is a lot going on with multiple consumer-facing initiatives (Apple, Samsung, Google), so any work that builds the data inroads from the home to the clinic will be worth watching closely.