A Year of Promise and Fulfillment

JustinBarnesFrom Formation to Execution with the CommonWell

By Justin Barnes, VP, Greenway Medical Technologies
Twitter: @HITAdvisor

Could these market competitors across acute and ambulatory segments live up to the embrace? Was it all for show? Could they really get anything done and so on.

I recall McKesson CEO John Hammergren deeming the Alliance (CommonWell) an “inflection point in health care.” At HIMSS14, CommonWell focused on announcements and initial successes in Orlando matching those goals and intent, I think we can call the combined achievements of the past year a tipping point.

In April of 2013, the Alliance made clear its mission of scalable, embedded cross-vendor data liquidity in a detailed comment letter to CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to the agencies’ Request for Information on Advancing Interoperability and Health Information Exchange, available in full on the CommonWell website.

In the succeeding summer, the Alliance grew in size and scope with the addition of Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI) and Sunquest Information Systems, joining co-founding members Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Greenway and McKesson, with further expansion that is expected to continue in the coming months.

And arguably, the biggest milestone to date was the announcement in December matching the prescribed timeline to launch a functionality program encompassing the specific and initial Alliance goals of streamlined patient consent and identity management, records location across encounter sites and data authentication.

Here previously disparate communities of health ranging from acute care and family practices to specialty medicine will advance interoperability across health system, ambulatory, urban, rural and laboratory settings. More on this project is to be detailed in Orlando.

Along the way the Alliance’s board, leadership and committee structures have been solidified. Our comprehensive Service Specification document is being finalized, built upon universal architecture profiles such as Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) protocols and HL7 standards widely in use throughout health IT.

I am proud of the Alliance accomplishments this year and look forward to the advancement of goals our entire industry shares around arming care providers with the means to succeed in new payment and delivery models that foster a sustainable health care system focused on improving patient outcomes and population health.

Justin Barnes, vice president – Greenway, was elected to the CommonWell Health Alliance Board of Directors in October 2013.

About the author: As a healthcare software executive and public policy advisor, Justin Barnes is a Vice President with Greenway Medical Technologies and manages Greenway’s Industry Affairs and Government Affairs departments. In addition, Mr. Barnes is Chairman Emeritus of the HIMSS Electronic Health Record (EHR) Association as well as Co-Chairman of the Accountable Care Community of Practice where he assists both organizations with industry strategy and leadership.  This article was originally published on CommonWell Community and is republished here with permission.