The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
recently issued for public comment D
raft 2 of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) that will support the full, network-to-network exchange of health information nationally.
Specifically, the documents being released for comment are: (1) a second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework (TEF), (2) a second draft of the Minimum Required Terms and Conditions (MRTCs) for trusted exchange, and (3) a first draft of a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework. These documents will form the basis of a single Common Agreement that QHINs and their participants may adopt. This Common Agreement will create baseline technical and legal requirements for sharing electronic health information on a nationwide scale across disparate networks.
“The seamless, interoperable exchange of health information is a key piece of building a health system that empowers patients and providers and delivers better care at a lower cost,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “The 21
Century Cures Act took an important step toward this goal by promoting a national framework and common agreement for the trusted exchange of health information. We appreciate the comments and input from stakeholders so far and look forward to continued engagement.”
In developing a TEFCA that meets industry’s needs, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has focused on three high-level goals:
- Provide a single "on-ramp" to nationwide connectivity;
- Ensure electronic information securely follows you when and where it is needed; and
- Support nationwide scalability for network connectivity.
The newly released drafts are responsive to stakeholder comments by making key changes to the draft requirements that health information networks who choose to participate would have to follow. These changes include updating the purposes for which information can be exchanged, adding a “push” method of data exchange, adding a technical framework for QHINs, and extending timelines for participating entities to implement changes that will be required by the Common Agreement.