Northern Arizona Healthcare signs up for CommonWell Services

April 16, 2015

Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH), the largest health care organization in Northern and Central Arizona, announced it signed up to use CommonWell Health Alliance(TM) services to enable health care providers to see patient health data from outside organizations within its Cerner electronic health record (EHR). Patients who receive care at its facilities will be able to give their doctors and nurses access to medical records from outside health care organizations that participate in CommonWell.

"Encouraging our patients to be part of their own treatment is central to what we do. By using CommonWell services, we give our patients another opportunity to be empowered participants in their care," said Marilynn Black, NAH chief information officer.

By offering CommonWell services to its patients, NAH is breaking through organizational and technological boundaries to advance interoperability and help patients give their care providers a more complete picture of their medical history. CommonWell services are expected to be live in May.

"Northern Arizona Healthcare is helping lead the charge for interoperability across health care," said Bob Robke, CommonWell treasurer and Cerner vice president of Network Services. "Our organizations share a common belief that every person's medical record should follow them, regardless of where they receive medical treatment or the type of EHR system that houses their records."

CommonWell was founded by a group of health care IT suppliers committed to advancing interoperability by allowing different systems to work together in order to share patient health data with their care providers. The services offered by CommonWell address four of the key challenges in health care interoperability:

• Patient identification and linking - Assist health IT suppliers to more quickly and accurately identify patients as they transition through care facilities

• Record locator and retrieval - Help providers locate and access their patient records, regardless of where the encounter occurred, by providing a "virtual table of contents" that documents available data from each encounter location

• Patient access, privacy and consent management - Expected future

capabilities include a patient-authorized means to simplify management of data sharing consents and authorizations

• Trusted data access - Provide authentication and auditing services that facilitate secure data sharing among member systems

Interoperability in health care enables organizations to share patient information regardless of organizational, geographic or technological boundaries. When people can securely share important medical information with providers, they can help improve care quality by giving providers a more complete picture of their medical history.

About Northern Arizona Healthcare

Northern Arizona Healthcare provides healthcare services through Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center, Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, Fit Kids of Arizona, Guardian Air, Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona Homecare and Hospice, Team Health and Verde Valley Medical Clinic. The system provides the only Level I Trauma Center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit north of Phoenix.

Northern Arizona Healthcare serves almost one half of the state and handles more than 150,000 patient visits each year. The organization employs close to 3,000 staff and has nearly 300 physicians on its active medical staff. As a nonprofit healthcare system, Northern Arizona Healthcare is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

For more information on Northern Arizona Healthcare, visit nahealth.com.

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