In January 2022, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that ONC published the Trusted Exchange Framework, Common Agreement (TEFCA). The first draft was published in 2018 to optimize the exchange of data between healthcare entities. This framework establishes what is required for entities that seek to become Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs). The Sequoia Project were awarded the role of Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) which will give them authority to develop, maintain, and adjust TEFCA, specifically the common agreement aspect. The common agreement outlines the requirements of entities when exchanging healthcare information in line with the 21st century cures act.
This week, Commonwell Health Alliance has officially applied to be amongst the first round of applications to qualify as a QUIN. After announcing the portal to apply would likely open sometime in 2022, The Sequoia Project have provisionally stated that the portal could open on the 3rd of October, with the first round of applicants being announced at this time. Commonwell Health Alliance is unlikely many other entities. TEFCA have previously stated their favour towards a federated query model that utilizes locator technology in addition to the functions of a query broker. This goal integrates extremely well with what the alliance have already been producing and delivering to the market with over seventy-five-million-member companies. At present, Commonwell Health Alliance co-ordinates the exchange of healthcare data belonging to approximately 170 million individual patients across nearly thirty thousand patient sites. The development of interoperability across the healthcare industry is extremely important for the progression of medical innovation and optimal patient outcomes. By digitalizing medical information and making the exchange of information smoother, clinicians are given the ability to make quicker and more accurate diagnosis, enabling patients to receive clarity and begin any necessary treatment plans sooner.
“TEFCA has the potential to increase the level of empowerment by individuals and their care providers by enabling them to get the data they need to make the best care decisions – something CommonWell has been focused on since day one,” said Paul L Wilder, executive director of the alliance.