Epic Announces Wide-Reaching Interoperability Partnership To Rival CommonWell

2014-02-26_0-48-03

This year at HIMSS14 Epic announces that it will work with HealtheWay to create a standard interoperability framework for exchanging data across representatives from across the healthcare spectrum. Called CareQuality, the partnership includes 26 partners from across the health IT space. Epic is the market share leading EHR vendor for large hospitals in the US, while fellow CareQuality partner Meditech is the market share leader for small hospitals. Between the two vendors, more than half of all acute patient care records will be represented. From the ambulatory space, in addition to Epic, eClinicalWorks and Greenway will be represented on the project.

Many are calling the new partnership a competitive response to last years CommonWell interoperability announcement from Cerner and McKesson. Epic CEO Judy Faulkner had publically spoken out against that project last year, calling it a weapon focused on securing a market advantage, rather than helping patients or providers. One year later, Judy is announcing her own inoperability partnership, likely with the same end in mind.

While CommonWell’s focus has been on creating exchange standards between EHR vendors, CareQuality has taken a more inclusive approach to health information exchange by including retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, and payers like UnitedHealth Group. LifeIMAGE, a medical image sharing network, will also join. The partnership also includes a number of the nation’s largest health systems, such as Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare. Several prominent regional health information exchanges will also work with CareQuality to ensure that information from its networks are included on the exchange. Interoperability experts like Surescripts, Hyland Software, and Mirth have also joined and will work with Healtheway to build a national network capable of supporting the new platform.

Other interesting founding members include Medfusion, the makers of a popular patient portal. MedFusion’s participation suggests that perhaps CareQuality will offer a centralized patient portal that consolidates information contributed from all of the founding members. A patient portal able to preset care records from the primary care setting, the community hospital setting, the academic hospital setting, as well as including pharmacy refill information, and payer records may finally offer enough value to attract patients. Medcity will also join the team. The company provides health information exchange services but also offers population health solutions.

Healtheway is a non-profit, public-private collaborative that supports the eHealth exchange, formerly referred to as the Nationwide Health Information Network. With a team of committed participants representing most players in US healthcare delivery system, the organization will have a good team to work with to enhance interoperability standards. CommonWell, which was officially announced last year, has no done much since its launch, so it will likely be a while before anyone knows if partnerships like these will deliver the value that the industry hopes they will.


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  • Richard Thibault

    This reads like native advertising. Is this publication somehow affiliated with Epic?

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