• 02 APR 15
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    CommonWell Grows, Scuffles with Epic over EHR Interoperability

    Health IT Analytics Author | Date April 2, 2015

    The CommonWell Health Alliance is continuing to make its mark as a leader towards EHR interoperability with two significant announcements: the appointment of its first Executive Director, Jitin Asnaani, and the expansion of its membership rolls to include additional EHR and clinical systems vendors.

    Despite an ongoing tiff with Epic Systems over membership costs, privacy, and even the basic necessity of bringing the vendor community together under one roof to solve pressing EHR interoperability concerns, CommonWell has positioned itself as one of the most notable non-governmental efforts to improve health information exchange and care coordination for patients.

    Yesterday, CommonWell announced the addition of five new members, including Kareo, MEDITECH, Merge, PointClickCare, and Surgical Information Systems (SIS).  They join industry mainstays such as athenahealth, Cerner, McKesson, CPIS, Allscripts, and Greenway.

    . . .

    CommonWell’s vision for EHR interoperability first found its way into the real world in November of 2014 when Cerner Corporation announced free access to CommonWell services for its clients through 2017, though “free” still meant paying fees for initial technical set up.  “The design is for the member health IT company to pass through the cost to the end-user provider organizations,” Cerner said at the time, but the Alliance’s cost structure and membership demands recently inflamed the simmering distaste between the Alliance and Epic Systems.

    Right off the bat in 2013, Epic’s CEO Judy Faulkner slammed the newly-formed collaboration as a “competitive weapon” in the battle for EHR market share, stating that her company was not aware of the group’s formation and was not invited to join it.  Executive VP Carl Dvorak added that the collaboration was “yet another distraction” in the pursuit of standards-based EHR Interoperability, and the company has stuck to its largely negative view of the group ever since.

    Peter DeVault, Director of Interoperability at Epic, told a Senate committee in March that the Alliance was too expensive to join, required a non-disclosure agreement that raised Epic’s hackles, and wasn’t even mature enough to be effective

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