Connectivity & the coordination of care

An effective coordination of care involves secure and appropriate health information exchange across different systems and settings for the benefit of patients and their providers. Without a smooth coordination of care, patients (and health care providers) can suffer fragmented health care, treatment errors, preventable hospital re-admissions, and unnecessary costs.

For new health reform initiatives such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), coordination of care is a requirement. When patient care is connected seamlessly across the continuum, it can ensure proper access, care follow-up, and streamlined care transitions — all without incurring extra costs.

Some independent practices assume that effective coordination of care and clinical integration require all providers to be on the same EHR system. But this is not the case.

Clinical integration and easy health information exchange are critical for practices — but this doesn’t mean practices must give up independence and join a hospital’s EHR system. Independent practices have other options for getting the right patient information to providers at the right time. And these options enable effective coordination of care among affiliated entities, allowing for physician choice and independence.

Health IT solutions that deliver cloud-based services — not just software — can satisfy these kinds of requirements. Cloud-based systems are strong enablers of health information exchange because: 1) all information is stored in a secure site and easily accessed via the Internet, and 2) the cloud vendor can provide a care management system that consolidates data from multiple sources. With this technological platform at their disposal, independent practices can choose the EHR that works best for them while benefiting from clinical integration with vendors, partners and others in their network.

When independent practices can utilize seamless health information exchange to achieve a strong coordination of care, they can meet payment reform requirements, cut costs by reducing duplicate testing and redundant care, and ensure that physicians have the data they need at the point of care to achieve clinical integration and quality care goals.

Here are some high-level requirements for any independent practice:

  • Establish reliable, efficient electronic health information exchange with payers, hospitals, labs, imaging centers, state registries, and other referral partners
  • Work with an EHR system that enables easy, accurate, secure data exchange with all of the entities

Delivering information across EHR systems and platforms should be easily achieved in health care, but the barriers have been plentiful. The CommonWell Health Alliance, an independent, not-for-profit trade organization, is working toward a solution to this coordination of care problem. They have formed an industry alliance to promote common exchange standards and protocols for sustainable, cost-effective, trusted access to patient data.

The CommonWell Health Alliance is devoted to the vision that health data should be available to individuals and providers regardless of where care occurs, breaking down the technological and process barriers that currently inhibit effective coordination of care and health information exchange. To learn more visit

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