Skip to main content

Pacific Northwest healthcare organizations join CommonWell Health Alliance

Five Cerner clients in the Pacific Northwest have agreed to use CommonWell Health Alliance services to securely exchange patient data with a growing number of provider sites across the United States.

Cerner clients Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, EvergreenHealth, Tuality Healthcare and Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics will share records with regional physician practices that use Greenway Health and athenahealth electronic health records (EHRs), as well as with the acute and ambulatory health care provider organizations nationwide who already use CommonWell. The Alliance expects to have more than 5,000 provider sites enrolled in CommonWell services by the end of the year.

“Our patients should be able to give their providers access to their medical records wherever they go,” said Tom Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Information Officer at EvergreenHealth. “CommonWell services give us an easy-to-use, secure and reliable way to connect patients, providers and their records.”

CommonWell was founded by healthcare information technology (IT) suppliers that share a commitment to the advancement of interoperability by enabling different systems to work together to share patient health data with their care providers. CommonWell services address four key challenges in health care interoperability:

  • Patient identification and linking – Assist health care IT suppliers to more quickly and accurately identify patients as they transition through care facilities
  • Patient access, privacy and consent management – Potential future capabilities include a patient-authorized means to simplify management of data sharing consents and authorizations
  • Record locator and retrieval – Help providers locate and access their patient records, regardless of where the encounter occurred, by providing a “virtual table of contents” that documents available data from each encounter location
  • Trusted data access – Provide authentication and auditing services that facilitate secure data sharing among member systems

“Tuality, Cerner and CommonWell share the belief that patients’ health data should flow freely to individuals and providers,” said Sonney Sapra, chief information officer at Tuality Healthcare. “Together, we will help our clinicians provide their patients with the best care possible by providing a holistic view of a person’s health history.”

CommonWell offers a unique approach to patient record accessibility. CommonWell services are built directly into the CommonWell members’ EHRs workflows, which enable clinicians to access participating patients’ medical records from outside health care organizations that also connect to the CommonWell network.

“Joining the CommonWell network with other health care organizations in the Pacific Northwest is good for our community. When patients and providers share access to a comprehensive version of the medical record, they are empowered to make more informed decisions about their care,” said Bill Poppy, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Cerner, a founding member of CommonWell, is a long-time contributor to the advancement of interoperability. For years, Cerner has supported open architecture concepts that enable data to flow easily between disparate systems. Beyond CommonWell, Cerner offers solutions that help organizations advance business outreach goals within the community and beyond, including local, regional and national information exchange.

“Patients should have the ability to grant clinicians access to their medical records,” said Bob Robke, CommonWell chairman and Cerner vice president of interoperability. “Each new provider that signs up for CommonWell services is a step toward our goal of true nationwide interoperability.”