U.S. Health Department Expands National Health Data Exchange with New QHINs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), recently announced the expansion of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) with two new entries to its network. CommonWell Health Alliance and Kno2 have joined the ranks as Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs), elevating the total to seven organizations empowered to facilitate nationwide health data exchanges.

As a reminder, the following entities had already been formally recognized as QHINs after completing the rigorous TEFCA onboarding process :

  • eHealth Exchange
  • Epic Nexus
  • Health Gorilla
  • MedAllies

This initiative, grounded in the 21st Century Cures Act, aims to enhance interoperability across the U.S. health system. Recognition of these QHINs marks a significant step forward in ensuring that patients and healthcare professionals can access and share essential health information more effectively and securely.

Under TEFCA, these networks will adhere to a set of shared policies and technical standards to manage health data exchanges. This system supports a wide array of healthcare stakeholders, including individual patients, healthcare providers, hospitals, and public health agencies, ensuring that critical health information is efficiently routed across different networks.

Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., the national coordinator for health information technology, expressed his congratulations to the new QHINs, highlighting the broader connectivity options now available. Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project and leader of the Recognized Coordinating Entity, noted the swift expansion of TEFCA exchanges as a testament to the growing support and acknowledgment of its benefits.

Furthermore, the ongoing development of Common Agreement Version 2.0 is set to introduce significant enhancements, including the adoption of Health Level Seven (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standards. This upgrade, expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2024, will further streamline and improve the exchange of health data across the nation.

The ONC and The Sequoia Project’s collaborative effort to expand TEFCA underlines a shared commitment to advancing a digital healthcare system that is more accessible, secure, and efficient for all Americans.

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Stan Deberenx

Stan Debenex is the Editor-in-Chief of Defensorum. Stan has many years of journalism experience on several publications. He has a reputation for attention to detail and journalist standards. Stan is a literature graduate from Sorbonne University, with a master's degree in management from Audencia/University of Cincinnati.