Feedback Submission on the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement Second Draft Still Open

The HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) already publicized its Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) second draft and is soliciting feedback regarding the edited information.

The goal of TEFCA is to have an easy, interoperable sharing of healthcare data, which is important to creating a health system that allows providers and patients to give better and less expensive healthcare.

The 21st Century Cures Act introduced a national framework and common agreement for the trustworthy sharing of medical data. The framework is required because at this time, healthcare providers, vendors, health plans, public health institutions, and federal, state, local and tribal authorities have no central exchange system to employ. Trusted exchange is quite complex.

At the moment, a number of exchange methods should be utilized. The majority of hospitals use three to four exchange strategies and 30% make use of five methods. This approach is not effective and expensive. Healthcare organizations must develop several point-to-point interfaces to pass around health information with one another. The Trusted Exchange Framework is looking to minimize the requirement for personal interfaces to be developed and maintained.

The five essential goals of TEFCA include:

  • to create one on-ramp for connectivity all over the country
  • to be sure electronic data is available when and where it is needed
  • to create a competitive environment to allow all entities to be reasonably competitive on data services
  • to assist country wide scalability for network connectivity
  • to achieve permanent sustainability

Apart from empowering healthcare entities to proficiently share medical data, the trusted exchange framework offers necessary benefits to patients, for instance the ability to get all of their health information documented by a number of providers, even if they don’t recollect those healthcare companies. This will aid patients and caregivers to actively engage in their heath care treatment and control their medical data.

Following the publication of the TEFCA first draft, industry stakeholders forwarded ONC in excess of 200 feedback. ONC edited the Trusted Exchange Framework (TEF) and the Minimum Required Terms and Conditions (MRTCs) for trusted exchange taking into consideration the comments received. Consequently, ONC released the initial draft of a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework.

These docs are the foundation of a Common Agreement for QHINs and their contributors and comprise of technical and legal standards for exchanging electronic health records all over the country all through disparate networks.

ONC is responsible for keeping the TEF. HHS is hoping to select a non-profit industry-based organization – a Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) – to generate, update, implement and maintain the Common Agreement. The HHS announced a notice of funding option to employ an RCE. Applications can be filed until June 17, 2019.

The HHS has set the date until June 17, 2019 to accept all comments regarding the TEFCA second draft.