ONC reveals first six entities qualified in TEFCA

by | Feb 11, 2023 | Digital Health, Healthcare Industry News

The government’s framework for a countrywide health information exchange known as TEFCA, has accepted the first six networks to be onboarded as qualified health information networks, or QHINs, according to the HHS. TEFCA, or the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, was produced by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT around a year ago. The following six firms were chosen jointly to cover a sizable portion of American health records:

  • Epic
  • CommonWell Health Alliance
  • eHealth Exchange
  • Health Gorilla
  • Kno2
  •  Konza

The entities have agreed to go live under TEFCA in twelve months, with full eligibility. The government was required by the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed eight years ago, to develop a set of guiding principles for the exchange of health information as part of a contract that established a model for the technical infrastructure and a method of governance. TEFCA’s goal is to provide a streamlined, effective infrastructure which enables connection between consumers, insurance, healthcare providers, and any relevant health agencies. The initiative builds on several key aspects of the digital healthcare industry such as the development of national networks, state health information exchanges, and other forms of regional exchange that enable the safe transmission of medical documents daily.

Early in 2022, the Biden administration completed the initial configuration of TEFCA and provided a platform for organizations to apply to become QHINs, or other entities that accept the same infrastructure for the exchange of their data . It links them together and makes it possible for their members, including as providers, payers, and public health organizations, to exchange medical data throughout the nation. The HHS-based ONC published the TEFCA’s initial draft in January 2018. The framework’s initial aims were to mitigate the burden of communication between healthcare institutions, and to break down information silos that hinder clinician to patient care.

 As stated, the six groups elected provide coverage for a sizable portion of Americans, and the QHIN applicants combined own networks that cover most U.S. hospitals and their healthcare workers. The ONC intends to announce more QHINs in the future as they are designated. This is a significant step in the development of interoperability, which will aid in clinicians delivering the most effective and accurate care with the patient in mind. Additionally, interoperability has portrayed an ability to lessen the burden of patients repeating health information, an experience that nearly eight five percent of patients noted an experience with, as well as enhancing overall health outcomes. Interoperability may also mitigate the strain placed on both nurses and clinicians whose role is to decipher individual’s health information between systems that are highly varied.

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