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Carequality Launches Interoperability Framework

December 8, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Carequality, the Washington, D.C.-based public-private collaborative focused on seamless healthcare data exchange, has announced the publication of its interoperability framework with the aim to provide “a practical approach to unlocking previously unseen levels of connectivity.”

The framework consists of multiple elements, including legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes, which operationalize data sharing under the previously-approved principles of trust—the policy foundation for connecting health data sharing networks throughout the U.S. The framework is now available for health information exchange (HIE) networks, vendors, payers, and others across the healthcare ecosystem.

Until now, health information exchange was preceded by one-off legal agreements between individual data sharing partners, which involved lengthy and costly negotiation and inconsistent experience in quality and quantity of data exchanged. Now, organizations that adopt the Carequality interoperability framework can establish data sharing partnerships quickly and uniformly by leveraging existing networks and business relationships, the organization’s officials said.

The initial roll-out of data sharing under the Carequality framework is led by 12 healthcare organizations that played a key role in development of the entire framework, but particularly the legal terms. The initial roll-out focuses first on query-based exchange of clinical documents, but the framework was developed to support an unlimited variety of use cases, officials said.

Carequality is one initiative under The Sequoia Project (formerly Healtheway). The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably Carequality and the eHealth Exchange, a rapidly growing community of exchange partners who share information under a common trust framework and a common set of rules.

"The beauty of the framework is that it's general; it can be applied to any type of content, and any technical architecture," Dave Cassel, director of Carequality, said in a statement. "We're starting with document queries because those capabilities are widely supported in the field, but that's obviously not the last word in interoperability. The framework provides the governance and trust foundation required for any type of widespread connectivity in healthcare."

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