A Chat with CommonWell’s Executive Director: Interoperability’s Next Steps, Data Blocking, and Epic

Rajiv Leventhal | Healthcare Informatics | July 12, 2016

It’s been a little over three years since the CommonWell Health Alliance, an industry trade group made up of many of the largest electronic health record (EHR) systems vendors and other health IT companies, formed at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference with the goal to greatly enhance health data exchange. And, it’s been a little over a year since the Alliance tapped Jitin Asnaani as its founding executive director.

Jitin AsnaaniAsnaani has a background in public and private interoperability efforts, and joined CommonWell from athenahealth (Watertown, Mass.), a founding member of the Alliance, where he headed up product innovation and interoperability. Before that, Asnaani was involved with technical standards development at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), product management at a health IT startup and strategy consulting at Deloitte.

Soon after the official appointment of Asnaani as CommonWell chief, Healthcare Informatics sat down with him to discuss his first directives as head of the Alliance, specifically in terms of interoperability and national patient identifier efforts, as well as the quarrel the trade organization was having with Epic, a hot industry topic at the time. At the core of that CommonWell/Epic feud was that Epic, despite its stature as the biggest EHR vendor in the industry, would not join the CommonWell Alliance...