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Health Record Sharing Program to Enter Three-State Trial



By Clinical Informatics News Staff

December 12, 2013 | The CommonWell Health Alliance has announced that a trial of its plan for fluidly sharing patient health records between providers will commence in early 2014, with select acute and ambulatory care providers in Chicago, IL; Columbia, SC; and Elkin and Henderson, NC enlisted in the rollout. Around a dozen providers across these three regions will begin using an IT infrastructure set up by Alliance member RelayHealth to enroll patients in the record sharing service, to accurately identify patient information housed in cross-provider systems, and to send health records to partnering facilities.

The CommonWell Health Alliance consists of seven medical IT companies that create and maintain electronic health records, in addition to RelayHealth who manages the information sharing technology. The Alliance's ambition is to create a national system for record sharing, whereby health records for the same patient contained in different provider systems can be matched and tagged with a unique patient identifier, eventually harmonizing all records between Alliance members. The data-sharing platform will be agnostic to providers' own IT systems, easing the demands of transmitting records from one care provider to another. This will simplify and speed up the process of accessing a patient's medical history when she has received care across multiple facilities, so providers don't miss important information or perform redundant procedures. The 2014 tri-regional rollout will be the first test of the Alliance's IT system. “Our work in these regions is an important step in the Alliance’s commitment toward making patient data available to both patients and providers, regardless of where care is administered,” said Jeremy Delinsky, who is both CTO of Alliance member athenahealth and Chairman of the Board for the Alliance, in a statement.

As the Alliance monitors its first participating providers' navigation of the system, it hopes to rapidly expand into other markets and more complete coverage of the trial regions selected. A first public report on the initiative is planned for the annual conference of the Health Information and Management Systems Society in February.

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