What is the CommonWell Health Alliance?


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At HIMSS 2013, health care IT industry leaders held a press conference to unveil CommonWell Health Alliance. Founded by Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, McKesson, RelayHealth, and Greenway, CommonWell Health Alliance aims to improve health care data interoperability.

Founding Members of the CommonWell Health Alliance:



athenahealth Logo : Electronic Medical Records, Physician Billing and Practice Management from athenahealth




The CommonWell Health Alliance aims to be an independent organization devoted to the mission of making patient health data available to patients and providers when it is needed. It also plans to define and promote a national health IT infrastructure that will ensure medical data is transferrable between software systems and medical technology.

Interoperability of health care software has been a longstanding industry problem. This organization is open to all health IT vendors, such as electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) software vendors. Through increased communication between EMR software developers, this organization hopes to solve interoperability issues and create a standard platform enabling effective health care data exchange.

According to their website, the national infrastructure the CommonWell Health Alliance plans to create will initially include these core components:

  • Patient Linking and Matching– Provide a industry-wide identification method to monitor patients as they transfer from setting to setting.
  • Patient Access and Consent Management– Simplify and monitor HIPAA-compliant means of managing patient consent and authorization for data sharing.
  • Record Locator Service and Directed Query– Establish a way for health care providers to easily find medical records and patient health care histories, anywhere that health care encounter occurred.

While the CommonWell Health Alliance group has the potential to help health IT software interoperability, some feel that the creation of this alliance will only create more issues.