On October 25, 2016, Dr. Vindell Washington, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, visited St. Louis-area healthcare clinics and a long-term care nursing facility to see real-world health data sharing via the Carequality Interoperability Framework (@). The site visit allowed participants to observe patient health records being shared across different electronic health record systems and record locator services. For example, SSM Health, including the St. Louis-area SSM Health Outpatient Center that Dr. Washington visited, uses Epic to receive patient files with multiple community partners who use NextGen, athenahealth®, MatrixCare with Kno2 interoperability services, and eClinicalWorks with Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service (NRLS).
The national-level framework announced live exchange in August, with 3,000 clinics and 200 hospitals live and accessible for exchange. There are now more than 150,000 clinicians across 11,000 clinics and 500 hospitals live and able to share health data records with one another, regardless of technology networks. More than 50,000 care documents have been exchanged so far.
“With Carequality, we can now begin to send and receive patient health data electronically regardless of what EHR system our partners are using,” said Dr. Peter Schoch, Vice President of Value-Based Care & Payment for SSM Health St. Louis. “Our queries happen behind the scenes during patient registration, so the information is already there when the doctor opens the patient’s chart. By having a more complete picture of the patient’s care, we can make better, faster decisions; avoid reordering expensive tests; and help ensure that our patients receive the best care possible at the lowest possible cost. It’s really a win-win.”
“We thank Dr. Washington for joining us today to observe the real-world impact of Carequality and health data sharing at Midwest Nephrology Associates, Inc., SSM Health, and Mount Carmel Senior Living,” said Dave Cassel, director of Carequality. “What’s happening here in the St. Louis area is being replicated around the country. The exponential growth we’re seeing is a credit to the diverse stakeholders from across healthcare who came together and developed the Framework specifically to be able to scale nationally and very quickly, by leveraging the existing investments and technologies of our implementers.”
The Carequality Interoperability Framework supports patient care coordination by powering data access for those who need it, including clinicians, care coordinators, payers, and patients themselves. Not a health data sharing network itself, Carequality connects the systems these stakeholders use by leveraging existing relationships, such as use of a participating EHR vendor’s software or a participating HIE’s exchange services. Record locator services (RLS), which help to identify the places where patients have received care, are supported to help all participants make the most of the sweeping connectivity Carequality affords. Connectivity across this diverse ecosystem is possible through Carequality’s provision of the necessary legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes. The Framework has been adopted by leading health organizations with dozens more reviewing the framework for adoption. These implementers of the framework are working to empower their customers, patients and providers across all 50 states to securely share health data across health IT platforms and geographies as never before.