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Interoperability takes another step forward


Health organizations commit to rigorous eligibility requirements

Interoperability hit another milestone toward living up to the potential government officials have been promising for years.

HHS recognized the first set of networks to be approved to implement the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), the set of rules that will guide interoperability among all entities. These networks are approved to implement TEFCA rules as Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINS). The first organizations to achieve this designation are CommonWell Health Alliance, eHealth Exchange, Epic TEFCA Interoperability Services, Health Gorilla, Kno2, and KONZA. The organizations have met the rigorous eligibility requirements and have agreed to a commitment to go live within 12 months.

Collectively, the applicants have networks that cover most U.S. hospitals, tens of thousands of providers, and process billions of annual transactions across all fifty states.

HHS says this is a significant step for the U.S. health system and one that will advance interoperability at scale for patients, health care providers, hospitals, public health agencies, health insurers, and other authorized health care stakeholders. Strong privacy and security protections are required of QHINs and their expanded connectivity will help improve the quality, safety, affordability, efficiency, and equitability of health care across the country.

While the steps taken are important, HHS acknowledges there is still much work to do before interoperability is implemented across the health care industry.

“While today is cause for celebration, our work on TEFCA has really just begun,” HHS said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming additional QHIN applicants in the coming months and for the network to become fully operational.”

For organizations interested in the QHIN application, onboarding, and designation process, please visit The Sequoia Project and ONC websites.

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