Category: Open & Interoperable
February 29 2016
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Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that companies that provide 90 percent of electronic health records used by U.S. hospitals, the nation’s five largest private healthcare systems, and more than a dozen leading professional associations and stakeholder groups have pledged to implement three core commitments that will improve the flow of health information to consumers and healthcare providers.

We share the principle that, to achieve an open, connected care for our communities, we all have the responsibility to take action. To further these goals, we are pledging to the following commitments to advance interoperability among health information systems enabling free movement of data, which are foundational to the success of delivery system reform. 

 Three interoperability commitments: 

 Consumer access: To help consumers easily and securely access their electronic health information, direct it to any desired location, learn how their information can be shared and used, and be assured that this information will be effectively and safely used to benefit their health and that of their community.   

We believe that ubiquitous interoperability happens when patient information can move freely among competing systems without organizational, vendor or geographic barriers. 

  • We are committed to developing and providing capabilities that support increased engagement by patients and families, including the ability to access their clinical data through VDT portal capabilities, as well as through standards-based API technology. In particular, we commit to supporting the FHIR standard, as described below.
  • Further, Cerner clients can facilitate secure delivery of information from their portal account to any external personal health record that implements Blue Button + Direct. 

No Blocking/Transparency: To help providers share individuals’ health information for care with other providers and their patients whenever permitted by law, and not block electronic health information (defined as knowingly and unreasonably interfering with information sharing).   

We believe that every individual has a right to access their complete health record, regardless of where it’s located or what system contains the data. It is immoral and unethical for any organization to block the flow of information that could help individuals — and their providers — make better-informed decisions about their care.

Standards: Implement federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance and practices for electronic health information, and adopt best practices, including those related to privacy and security.   

Cerner’s support and leadership in this space have been well-documented. We are strongly committed to national interoperability standards, but we also believe that appropriate business incentives and sufficient national infrastructure must be in place for the interoperability standards to be used efficiently and at national scale.

  • To that end, Cerner co-founded the vendor-neutral CommonWell Health Alliance in 2013 to help advance nationwide interoperability and enable provider systems to share their records with each other and with their patients.  In October 2014, Cerner committed to providing five years of CommonWell services to each of our provider clients for free.
  • Beyond CommonWell, Cerner is a member of Carequality, an industry coalition focused on developing governance standards.
  • Cerner is implementing HL7 FHIR to expose Cerner Millennium data to our clients and third-party developers. Cerner believes FHIR will become the “public API” that the JASON report and the JASON Task Force have called for. We believe FHIR, along with SMART and OAuth 2.0, will enable Millennium to become an open electronic health record (EHR) platform that supports innovative developers. To speed adoption of FHIR, Cerner is an active member of the Argonaut Project, a multi-vendor organization whose goal is to ensure that FHIR matures into a widely implemented API to enable expanded information sharing among EHRs and other health IT providers.
  • Cerner has been a major contributor to, and a proud supporter of, the Direct Project since its inception. Cerner was the first to obtain full accreditation from the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program (DTAAP), offered in partnership by DirectTrust and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), further highlighting our commitment to uphold industry-established best practices for privacy and security, and fostering confidence for continued innovation around broad use of national Direct standards.