Growth Slow for CommonWell Alliance Data Exchange Effort

Joseph Goedert | Health Data Management | August 25, 2015

Five Pacific Northwest clients of electronic health records vendor Cerner have joined the CommonWell Health Alliance that offers health information exchange. The new clients demonstrate growth of the alliance while at the same time showing some of its continuing weaknesses.

Created two years ago by seven vendors including Cerner, CommonWell now has about 30 vendors—up from 25 in mid-April—who have pledged to cooperate to accelerate interoperability. But many of the members are not yet technically able to exchange data through McKesson Relay Health, which operates the health information exchange.

So, while Cerner clients Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Evergreen Health, Tuality Healthcare and Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics will share records with regional physicians, the sharing right now is limited to practices that use Greenway Health or athenahealth electronic health records. These new provider members of CommonWell can share records with other providers across the nation that already use the service. But that isn’t a lot of providers.