What does that leave HIEs to do? "HIEs are evolving in the direction of doing more in the realm of population health management, quality reporting, aggregation services, to abstract records, small provider access and the like, although they typically limit that to a region," McCallie says.
"CommonWell will obviously be able to pull data from anywhere in the network, which could be anywhere in the country. That's a long-winded answer, but it's not a simple answer, I'm afraid." And CommonWell members will be building out complete HIEs on top of the CommonWell platform, he adds.
"Each of the vendors has additional products like population health management or care coordination or continuity of care services that we will build on top of the data availability that CommonWell exposes."
So there you have it, an update on CommonWell at the three-month mark. Before CommonWell, there were already a lot of moving parts in healthcare IT, and we can hope that the additional activity of this new group will simplify the picture moving forward, and not complicate it further.
I wonder, however, if we can really afford to wait until 2014 for what amounts to a glorified demo, or if in the interim, we might see Epic suddenly reveal vast evidence of real interoperability happening now, tipping the market further in Epic's favor. The fate of dozens of competing EHR vendors probably hangs in the answer to that question.