The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) completed a framework to allow electronic health information to be more easily shared among providers and individuals called the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).
TEFCA has three goals associated with it, including:
- Establish a universal policy and technical floor for nationwide interoperability;
- Simplify connectivity for organizations to securely exchange information to improve patient care, enhance the population’s welfare, and generate healthcare value; and
- Enable individuals to gather healthcare information.
In a blog post, ONC identified the Trusted Exchange Framework as “a set of non-binding principles to facilitate data-sharing among health information networks.” The Common Agreement operationalizes simplified electronic health information exchanges across the U.S. and will provide easier ways for individuals and organizations to connect securely.
“The Common Agreement is a new legal contract that ONC’s Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE), The Sequoia Project, will sign with each Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN),” wrote ONC. “QHINs will then execute certain corresponding policies within their own networks.”
The QHIN Technical Framework is also being published in tandem and sets the functional and technical requirements that QHINs need to support to make the new connectivity come online.
Additionally, ONC is working with RCE to develop a TEFCA Health Level Seven Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) Roadmap to outline how FHIR will become an established part of TEFCA-based exchange over time.
Lastly, RCE will be hosting webinars to educate the public about TEFCA and how to participate.