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CommonWell Health Alliance – The Healthcare Interoperability Enabler?

Posted on March 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The biggest news that will likely come out of HIMSS was the big announcement that was made about the newly formed CommonWell Health Alliance. They’ve also rolled out a website for the new organization.

This was originally billed as a Cerner and McKesson announcement and would be a unique announcement from both the CEO of Cerner and McKesson. Of course, the news of what would be announced was leaked well before the press briefing, so we basically already knew that these two EHR companies were working on interoperability.

In what seemed like some final, last minute deals for some of the companies, 5 different software products were represented on stage at the press event announcement for CommonWell Health Alliance. The press event was quite entertaining as each of the various CEOs took some friendly jabs at each other.

Of course, Jonathan Bush stole the show (which is guaranteed to happen if he’s on stage). I think it was Neal Patterson who called Jonathan Bush the most articulate CEO in healthcare and possibly in any industry. Jonathan does definitely have a way with words.

One of Jonathan’s best quote was in response to a question of whether the CommonWell Health Alliance would just be open to any health IT software system, or whether it was just creating another closed garden. Jonathan replied that “even a vendor of epic proportions” would be welcome in the organization. Don Fluckinger from Search Health IT News, decided to ask directly if Judy from Epic had been asked about the alliance and what she said. They adeptly avoided answering the question specifically and instead said that they’d talked to a lot of EHR vendors and were happy to talk to any and all.

Although, this is still the core question that has yet to be answered by the CommonWell Health Alliance. Will it just be another closed garden (albeit with a few more vendors inside the closed garden)? From what I could gather from the press conference, their intent is to make it available to anyone and everyone. This would even include vendors that don’t do EHR. I think their intent is good.

What I’m not so sure about is whether they’ll put up artificial barriers to entry that stop an innovative startup company from participating. This is what was done with EHR certification when it was started. The price was so high that it made no sense for a small EHR vendor to participate. They could have certified as well, but the cost to become certified was so high that it created an artificial barrier to participation for many EHR vendors. Will similar barriers be put up in the CommonWell Health Alliance? Time will tell.

With this said, I think it is a step forward. The direction of working to share data is the right one. I hope the details don’t ruin the intent and direction they’re heading. Plus, the website even says they’re going to do a pretty lengthy pilot period to implement the interoperability. Let’s hope that pilot period doesn’t keep getting extended and extended.

Finally, I loved when Jonathan Bush explained that there were plenty of other points of competition that he was glad that creating a closed garden won’t be one of them. I hope that vision is really achieved. If so, then it will be a real healthcare interoperability enabler. Although, artificially shutting out innovative healthcare IT companies would make it a healthcare interoperability killer.

Three Health Apps Women Should Consider

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

I’ve posted my fair share about mHealth apps that are geared toward women, so I found this article at Fierce Mobile Healthcare very interesting. Apparently, 47 percent of people who use one or more mHealth apps, are using a women’s health app as well. This was in the Citrix ByteMobile Mobile Analytics Report.

The report also revealed that about 40 percent of people using one or more mHealth app are using a fitness-specific app. I felt like this was rather telling of what type of people are most involved with mHealth. It’s no wonder I see, what seems like, a new woman-focused health app popping up every day. There appears to be a great demand for women’s health apps. Just for fun, here are a few that I found. There’s definitely quite a few!

52 Weeks for Women’s Health: Created by the National Institutes of Health, this app was created to help women recognize health risks for not only themselves, but their family members. It has a personal health section, where the woman can record medications, medical conditions and disabilities. There are 52 health topics, so one for each week, for women to study and read up on, to help promote a healthier lifestyle. It offers suggestions for improving the health and well-being of the woman, and her family. It is a free app available for Android and iOS devices

MyPillApp: This is a great app for any woman that uses pill, patch, or ring contraception. It can be customized for any of those forms of birth control, and has quite a few features. It has a daily reminder feature, that obviously reminds a woman to take her bill. There is a history tracking function, where the user can write down notes to remember for future doctor’s appointments. It has a virtual “pill pack,” to provide a visual for how much is left. There’s even a snooze alert, just in case someone can’t take their pill when the alert goes off.  It is available for free on iOS devices, though I’m sure there is something similar for Android.

Breast Self Exam: Women are encouraged to perform a breast self exam monthly. In fact, I’ve known a few people who discovered they had cancer because they did this. However, it can be difficult to know exactly how to do this. This app provides a short tutorial on how to do the exam, a record can be kept about each exam, and it was designed by physicians. It is .99 on iOS devices.


I’m sure there are many more out there, and these are just a sampling. And because I think men’s health is just as important as women, look for an upcoming post on some great men’s health apps that are available.


52 weeks for women’s health

The easy-to-use mobile app can help women identify health risks for themselves and their families, and can help them create and maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Questions to ask health care providers, a glossary of health terms, and health screening information and links to additional information from NIH institutes and centers expand the mobile app’s offerings.

Key features of the app are:

  • a personal health section for recording medications, medical conditions, and disabilities
  • a journal feature
  • a personal goal-setting section for health and lifestyle details

A variety of different skins can be applied to personalize the app, and it ca