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ONC National Coordinator Gets Live Look at Carequality Data Exchange

October 27, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Officials from Carequality, an interoperability initiative under The Sequoia Project, have stated that there are now more than 150,000 clinicians across 11,000 clinics and 500 hospitals live on its network. These participants are also able to share health data records with one another, regardless of technology vendor, the organization said.

What’s more, more than 50,000 care documents have been exchanged so far via Carequality, a framework under The Sequoia Project (formerly Healtheway). Not a health data sharing network itself, Carequality connects the systems these stakeholders use by leveraging existing relationships, such as use of a participating electronic health record (EHR) vendor’s software or a participating health information exchange’s (HIE’s) exchange services.

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.

In August, Carequality announced that select major EHR vendors are now sharing health information with other providers using its recently created. Interoperability Framework. Published in December 2015, the Carequality Interoperability Framework aims to provide the necessary legal terms, policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes to enable interoperability between and among the many healthcare data sharing networks and programs serving diverse user communities nationwide.

At the time of the August announcement, more than 3,000 clinics and 200 hospitals were said to be live on Carequality and capable of sharing health data, so the new numbers represent triple the growth in just two months.

Now, just this week, Vindell Washington, M.D., 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. According to Carequality officials, “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).”

Peter Schoch, M.D., vice president of value-based care and payment for SSM Health St. Louis., added, “With Carequality, we can now begin to send and receive patient health data electronically regardless of what EHR system our partners are using. He noted, “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.”

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