Interoperability Challenges Discussed

Two experts featured at the WebEx meeting held April 8th provided insight and answered questions related to interoperability. Arien Malec, Vice President, Data Platform Solutions RelayHealth and former staffer at ONC, said, “The goal is to have patient information flow between all systems so that the right data goes to the right patient at the right time.”

Joe Ganley, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, McKesson and a policy expert wants to see the government set a high bar to focus on patients and he wants to see a deadline set for achieving widespread interoperability.

Both discussed the not-for-profit trade association called the CommonWell Health Alliance with health IT companies as members. CommonWell was founded by a group of healthcare IT suppliers committed to advancing interoperability by allowing different systems to work together in order to share patient health data with their care providers.

The services offered by CommonWell address patient identification and linking, perform record locator and retrieval services, provide patients with access, privacy, consent management, and access to trusted data.

CommonWell announced that five of its health IT vendor members including athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, Greenway Health, and McKesson will actively deploy CommonWell services to healthcare provider sites nationwide throughout 2015.

The issue of cost to be a member of CommonWell was discussed. Arien Malec reports that the cost to join the Alliance and use the services are 100 percent transparent on pricing and can accommodate all members.

Malec said, “Costs must be reasonable to be used by providers and the populations and people they serve. ”To make costs reasonable for members, Joe Ganley reported that McKesson plans to make CommonWell services available at no additional cost to its entire base of Paragon customers in 2015.

Today, there are already more than 60 providers sites live on CommonWell services across 15 states. The Alliance expects 2015 deployments to enable at least 5,000 provider sites to be live on the services nationwide.

For questions and more information, email Brian LoSchlavo at



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