The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has gone live with the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) for nationwide health data exchange.
TEFCA in an interoperability framework to allow secure sharing of electronic health data between different healthcare networks.
Patients will benefit from increased access to their records, while healthcare providers and plans can enhance their data exchange practices.
Five organisations designated as Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs) by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have now completed the TEFCA onboarding process.
These QHINs, namely eHealth Exchange, Epic Nexus, Health Gorilla, KONZA, as well as MedAllies, can support the exchange of data under the Common Agreement’s policies and technical requirements.
In 2021, The Sequoia Project, chosen by the ONC as the Recognised Coordinating Entity (RCE) to enable the deployment of TEFCA, unveiled Elements of the Common Agreement for stakeholder feedback.
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The development of Common Agreement Version 2.0 is underway, with expected updates, including support for Health Level Seven (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) based transactions.
This updated version is scheduled to be adopted by QHINs in the first quarter of 2024.
A signing event celebrating the TEFCA implementation was attended by key figures such as HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, and National Coordinator Micky Tripathi.
Additionally, TEFCA updates will be discussed at plenary sessions during the 2023 ONC Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, on 14 December.
Health Information Technology national coordinator Micky Tripathi said: “In February 2023 we announced that TEFCA would be operational by the end of the calendar year, and we are delighted to achieve this goal.
“This would not have happened without tremendous stakeholder support, considerable investment of resources and expertise by the QHINs, and the hard work of the RCE and ONC staffs.”