Initial use cases will focus on ambulatory practices, although data exchange between a broader range of healthcare systems is expected over time.
CommonWell plans to announce preliminary results from the initial service launch at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in February. The initiative was announced at the last HIMSS conference in early 2013, and numerous other vendors are in a queue for CommonWell.
"We do expect customers to put this into productive use, and we get all the associated benefits from testing this in a live environment, volume testing, and validation of all the technical components working as expected," says Walter Reid, vice president of product management at McKesson.
Those pilot sites using McKesson software are using a specific version and release level of the software which is CommonWell-ready, Reid says.
"It's a record locator service for patient identity management," Reid says. "EMR vendors have committed to build this into their workflow, so the member firms are also delivering to the customer product changes to show how we're incorporating the CommonWell services into the actual workflows. It's not just a technology component. There are software changes on the vendor side as well."
CommonWell's consent management technology allows patients to authorize data sharing across participating providers.