While there are regional and national interoperability hubs like CommonWell working at scale across the country, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) recent Trusted Exchange Framework and the Common Agreement (TEFCA) aims at pushing the health IT industry to certify these hubs as highly scalable, highly secure utility grade systems and connect them via standardized exchange practices and patient search capabilities. TEFCA is asking entities that meet the set of qualifications it is now drawing up to become Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs), which will work to connect with other QHINs to vastly expand interoperability across the United States.
What does this mean for CommonWell and its members?
CommonWell intends to be in the first wave of QHINs and is eagerly awaiting the final agreement including referenced but not yet published Standard Operating Procedures and a fee schedule for participation. We look forward to being on the front lines of the roll out to ensure CommonWell and its membership a seat at the table during this important period of development.
During CommonWell TV 2022, we asked a few of our member organizations how TEFCA may impact health care and health data exchange moving forward. See their reflections below and watch the CommonWell TV videos here.
We’ve looked forward to better and more reliable frameworks for exchange of information for a long time. We are encouraged this is moving forward, but we also have questions and we are working with our Alliance partners to ensure that the best intent of our clients, constituents and the people who will be impacted by these laws are honored as we move forward.
Sam Lambson, Cerner
We expect the partnership between CommonWell and Health Gorilla to be even stronger under TEFCA. In late 2021, Health Gorilla formally announced our pursuit of a QHIN designation. To be successful as a QHIN and unlock the true potential of TEFCA, we’ll need to have other trustworthy organizations designated as well. In that network of network approach, we realize that no single entity will store and have complete access to the totality of information – there has to be the ability to push and pull across systems.
Karla Mills, Health Gorilla
Not only does TEFCA make the trust framework better and encourage more organizations to join–it’s also opening up the use cases–the cherry on the top! We started this company fully focused on the idea of getting individuals access to their own data. TEFCA and info blocking are all in effort to do that.
Troy Bannister, Particle Health
CommonWell has been consistently aligned with TEFCA since it was first announced. As a national network it’s been our goal to be an on ramp for connecting care providers. We’ve shown this by becoming a Carequality implementer reaching out to other trade partners outside of our immediate network. When we launched the CommonWell Connector model we really doubled down on this effort to extend access to health IT companies that might not have previously had the ability to connect to the network.
Liz Buckle, CommonWell
TEFCA was practically designed around the way CommonWell already does business. There are some gaps in materials that have come out so far including how patients will engage and how much it will cost. However, we expect to be QHIN #1 or QHIN wave 1 when we get to the second quarter of this year.
Paul L Wilder, CommonWell