News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

CommonWell grows, despite Epic absence

Despite the continued absence of health IT’s biggest name, the CommonWell Health Alliance, a vendor-backed interoperability group, keeps growing.

EHR giant Epic Systems Corp. is the notable non-participant, even defending its decision to stay out of CommonWell in a recent Senate hearing, but the nonprofit group announced four new members have joined, bringing the general membership count to 13.

The new corporate members are Caremerge, a cloud care coordination company, and T-System Inc., which specializes in emergency department and urgent care IT documentation.

Also signing up were two health information exchanges (HIE), Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services and the Texas Health Services Authority.

General members pay lower subscription dues than contributor members, a category that includes the seven founding members: Epic competitors Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., athenahealth, Inc., Cerner Corp. and McKesson Corp., and Evident, a subsidiary of EHR vendor CPSI (Computer Programs and Systems, Inc.), Greenway Healthcare and Sunquest Information Systems, Inc.

There are nine other contributor members.

In a blog, Nick Knowlton, chairman of CommonWell’s Membership Committee and vice president of business development for Brightree LLC, said the new members broaden the range of CommonWell participants to include not only vendors, but also other healthcare organizations, such as HIEs.

While most of Epic’s peers are now part of CommonWell, the Verona, Wisc.-based EHR market leader has resisted signing up. During a March hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Peter DeVault, Epic’s director of interoperability, defended the company’s stance when  a senator asked why Epic isn’t part of CommonWell, Healthcare IT News reported.

DeVault said Epic finds the annual subscription and membership fees excessive (Epic would have to pay more than $1.25 million annually, based on its size), and also doesn’t want to sign the required non-disclosure agreement.

“The lack of transparency didn’t sit well with us,” DeVault said, according to Healthcare IT News.

However, Epic is participating with some of its biggest competitors, including Cerner and athenahealth, in HL7 International’s Argonaut Project to develop the FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources) standard.

Among the services CommonWell offers members are: patient identification and matching; record location and retrieval; patient access, privacy and consent management; and trusted data access.

CommonWell’s service provider is RelayHealth, a McKesson subsidiary.

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Amazon SimpleDB can be useful for those who need a non-relational database for storage of smaller, non-structural data. Amazon SimpleDB has restricted storage size to 10GB per domain. Amazon SimpleDB offers simplicity and flexibility. SimpleDB automatically indexes all data. Amazon SimpleDB pricing is based on your actual box usage. You can store any UTF-8 string data in Amazon SimpleDB.

On the different note: Use SDB Explorer, whenever you want to store your precious data on Amazon SimpleDB. SDB Explorer is designed to help you manage large amount of distributed data on Amazon SimpleDB. Create, store and update structured data in a cost efficient and simple way . Run queries in SDB Explorer like any other databases, easily, and without any coding .
Hey Dan Sullivan,Thanks for this talk. I mean this post. I really love what you said, you gave me a quicker aid to research what Database server that best suite me but i have a quick question to ask. Does Microsoft Azure support couchDb?