Highlight Reel: CommonWell & Interoperability

In case you missed HealthcareScene’s interview hosted by John Lynn on June 29, have no fear. You can watch the recorded conversation with Scott Stuewe, Director of the Cerner Network at Cerner and co-chair of the CommonWell Utilization Committee, and Daniel Cane, CEO and co-founder at Modernizing Medicine, on the topic of CommonWell Health Alliance and healthcare interoperability. Here’s a recap of some highlights from the conversation among these industry leaders:

Highlights: Scott Stuewe, Director, Cerner Network & Co-Chair, CommonWell Utilization Committee | 9 Things to Know

1. We are at an extremely exciting juncture. CommonWell is growing incredibly fast as an organization in terms of participation. We are up to 50+ members, including three new members that have not yet been publicly announced. From a provider standpoint, our deploying members have 4,700 provider sites live on CommonWell Services in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

2. CommonWell is based on the core mission that patient records should be available regardless of where a patient seeks care. That is what we are trying to accomplish. It takes a long time to wire a country and industry. A lot of the new members we have are representing the continuum of care outside the practice and hospital space. Care is increasingly moving towards other locations. commonwell_patient_records

3. The majority of our participants are healthcare IT companies, although not all are EHR suppliers. Out of our participants, less than half are EHR suppliers.

4. Two of the core services that CommonWell provides are related to patient identity and record location. It helps answer the questions: Is this the same patient? Where are their records? The patient is in front of me; can I see their patient records from other locations right now?

5. What I see as most valuable is that the connection you make to CommonWell gets you access to all others who are connected. I’m seeing great value being placed on what CommonWell can provide; no one wants to go somewhere else to log in and find something.what is commonwell

6. The committee structure of CommonWell works because we are all focused on making real things happen quickly. The “do-ocracy” is real.

7. Use cases are proposed and approved through a use case committee. The board approves specifications. It is a committee structure and doesn’t move as fast as a single company might be able to, but it does move faster than the typical committee structure of many companies.

8. For our clients, what is exciting is being able to get data from outside their immediate region. For example, we have a client in Indiana who was able to obtain data from hundreds of miles away. More than half of the data is from another state, which would not have been possible in the health information exchange (HIE). The myth that healthcare is local is one of those things our clients are getting the opportunity to debunk. They didn’t even realize at first how much care was being provided to their patients outside their region.

9. Since we’re a group of competitors working together, we can solve the hard problems.

Highlights: Dan Cane, CEO & Co-founder, Modernizing Medicine | 9 Things to Know

1. As a company, Modernizing Medicine has always been very interested in finding the right channels for interoperability. As a vendor that works with hundreds of other companies, what we found was that we were doing one-off integrations over and over with hundreds of different systems, including Cerner. There wasn’t a shortage of mechanisms to do them, but they were all very proprietary and you would have to reinvent a lot of things the next time around. The standards that were out there weren’t standards; they were just protocols. There is a big difference between standards and protocols. CommonWell goes way beyond just standardization on what we communicate, but what we can really say to each other.

2. In the past seven years, I have really learned that there is an awful lot we need to be doing as an industry to come together to make sure that data can move and that both content and data are interoperable. I am really excited to see that CommonWell is gaining traction, and we really wanted to lend our support not only to the initiative to make sure our clients have access to it, but to make sure we get involved from a development capability. Relatively simple questions like “who a patient is” become really challenging questions that CommonWell has set out to solve. We can be contributors to and consumers of what CommonWell is providing. We’re one of the most advanced nations in the world, except when it comes to things like identifying patients. interoperability and commonwell

3. The patient discovery and ability to find the record is foundational to the advancements, which we’ll get to over time. Our providers should be able to access that information and the patient should be able to have control over releasing information. CommonWell is only as good as the members that help contribute to it. There’s a lot of momentum in CommonWell right now.

4. Because Modernizing Medicine is cloud-based, there will be a large part of our 10,000+ physician network that will have access to the power of the CommonWell network.

5. There will be a movement forcing companies to work well together. You can build proprietary technologies but you can’t hoard data. You need to be able to share patient data to wherever the patient wants it to go.

6. Today you can’t achieve what needs to be done for our customers with just CommonWell. However, CommonWell is solving something that no one else has been able to solve in the past.Dan Cane on Interoperability

7. If we can have a combination of CommonWell plus some tool for interoperability, innovators can come up with a widget, a thing that solves a particular need, that plugs into a Modernizing Medicine, a Cerner, an athenahealth, etc., through the CommonWell network. I think we are a ways off from that, and we are starting with the right things around discovering and moving information. I get excited about where this will go in the future!

8. We have a lot of anecdotal information from clients. We would ask our clients, “What would make you a better specialist?” They responded that they need to know what happens before a patient arrives for a visit, and what happens after. That information is not found in our systems as patients are often referred by a primary care physician (PCP). Providers perform their function, get patients well and then they are back to the PCP, and the physician specialist doesn’t have a list to view what is going on.

A lot of care is happening in unexpected places like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and urgent care, so how do we pull all that info together? The clients want more information so they can see what is happening outside the practice. They know what is happening inside, but they need better visibility outside. In the first quarter of 2017, Modernizing Medicine plans to go live with CommonWell, and for over 10,000 physicians they will be able to access the great power of this network. Providers need better visibility to the bigger picture and CommonWell delivers that.modernizing medicine CEO

9. The greater good aspect of CommonWell is what it’s about; making sure information is where it needs to be – in the hands of providers.

Click here for the YouTube video of the “after party” where the conversation on all things CommonWell and interoperability continues. And to read more from CommonWell, click here. Be sure to follow @modmed, @cerner and @commonwell on Twitter.

Aaron Stoklosa
Aaron Stoklosa

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