The need to connect healthcare record networks is a growing demand for today’s healthcare world. To have a secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange would allow health provider networks to share patient information across the spectrum. We imagine a world where a patient can visit their primary care doctor along with their treatment specialist and together, they will build an action plan to treat the whole person.

Carequality is the first step in achieving interoperability across health network systems and we’re excited to partner with Netsmart to make this a reality for all healthcare networks. Let’s take a look at the top, commonly-asked questions about Carequality and our partnership with Netsmart.

  1. What industry challenge is Carequality solving?
    Over the last decade, there has been explosive growth in electronic health records (EHRs) and many niche networks developed to support an exchange of these records. This has been exciting, but this rapid expansion also meant these disparate networks were focused on enabling internal exchange. Carequality is an interoperability framework to enable an exchange of relevant health information across and between networks, conceptually similar to what the telecom industry has done to allow connectivity between cellular networks. The Carequality Framework unites health data networks under a common trust agreement and technical specifications and provides operational support for internetwork connectivity.
  1. What is Carequality working on as the next iteration of interoperability?
    Connectivity isn’t enough. We know that once we have the ability to share health data, we need to continue to refine what data is shared and how. If the information received by a physician isn’t easy to use, then it won’t be used. We are working with Netsmart and other members to continue to improve health IT interoperability beyond simple connectivity, focusing on content quality and completeness, patient access to their own records, and more.
  1. What are the benefits for behavioral health and post-acute care organizations?
    Behavioral health and post-acute care organizations face unique challenges in gathering comprehensive patient histories. Netsmart’s implementation of Carequality will increase access to relevant clinical records at the point of care to support care decisions, avoid duplicate procedures, and aid in care coordination. This will save providers time, expense and frustration.
  1. What is Netsmart’s role with Carequality?
    Netsmart has been a strong voice for the behavioral and mental health community in the development of Carequality. These patients and their providers face unique challenges, and thanks to Netsmart, there is greater opportunity for health data sharing across this community and other types of care settings supporting these patients. We appreciate Netsmart’s continued engagement with Carequality on behalf of its clients and the leadership roles taken on, such as volunteering for various committees and taking a lead to beta test services in development. Now, Netsmart has taken the next step and has implemented the Carequality Interoperability Framework for health data exchange, enabling clients on its network to share data with providers on other networks.
  1. Why is this collaboration important (Netsmart + Carequality)?
    Approximately 61.5 million Americans, or one in four adults, experience a mental illness each year. A U.S. Surgeon General report found 10 percent of children and adolescents suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school, and with peers. These mental and behavioral health challenges do not happen in isolation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that 68% of adults with a mental disorder have one or more medical conditions. These patients are some of our country’s most vulnerable – and most likely to benefit from care coordination. Netsmart’s implementation of the Carequality Interoperability Framework will help these providers better care for these patients.

About Dave Cassel:
Dave has worked more than 20 years in health information technology, creating a national reputation as an expert in health information exchange. As Vice President of Carequality, he is responsible for the Carequality Interoperability Framework which enables health data sharing across and among different types of networks. Under his leadership, the national-level trusted exchange framework was first implemented in July 2016. The framework rapidly expanded to support exchange among more than 260,000 providers across more than 850 hospitals and 23,000 clinics in less than a year. He holds a Master’s of Science in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Delaware.