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Carequality Interoperability Framework

Health officials from Carequality, which is an initiative under the Sequoia Project, revealed that more than 150,000 clinicians, spread across 11,000 clinics, and five hundred hospitals, are live on their network. They said that the participants of the program are able to share health records and this can be done regardless of the vendor of the technology.

Carequality connects the systems that the participating members make use of by leveraging existing relationships. Carequality is not a health data-sharing network by itself, but uses exchange services of a participating Health Information Exchange (HIE) or a participating Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor’s software.

The Sequoia Project supports many independent health IT interoperability initiatives and some of the most notable ones are Health Exchange and Carequality. Statistics show that more than 50,000 care documents have been exchanged through the Carequality initiative.

eHealth Exchange is a fast growing community of exchange partners. These partners commit to share health information under common set of rules and trust framework. Carequality also announced in August that some of the important EHR vendors are sharing health data with the other providers making use of the recently made Interoperability Framework.

Interoperability Framework was published in December 2015 and it aims to offer the necessary legal terms, technical specifications, governance processes, and policy requirements to enable interoperability among and between many healthcare data sharing programs and networks that serve diverse user communities across the nation.

More than 200 hospitals and 3,000 clinics were believed to be live on Carequality in August. These hospitals and clinics are capable of sharing health information and the latest numbers shows that the growth has tripled in two months.

Vindell Washington, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, visited a long-term care nursing facility and clinics in St. Louis-area to analyze the real-world health data sharing process, which makes use of the Carequality Interoperability Framework. As per the words of Carequlaity 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),” the officials added.

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

“Our queries happen behind the scenes during patient registration, so the information is already there when the doctor opens the patient’s chart,” he added. “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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