The ONC officially released the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) for public comment. Here’s a comprehensive look at the new framework.

A Comprehensive Look at the ONC Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA)

On January 5th, the ONC officially released the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) for public comment. The draft framework is intended to streamline patient health data access and improve interoperability per provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act.

“The vision we seek to achieve is a system where individuals are at the center of their care and where providers have the ability to securely access and use health information from different sources,” stated in the introduction of the framework.

The actual framework is 48 pages, and thankfully the ONC has provided this one-page summary. Here are the key points about TEFCA:

  • The Trusted Exchange Framework provides a single “on-ramp” to allow all types of health care providers to participate in nationwide exchange.
  • Decreases financial burden and improves workflow efficiency by eliminating the need to create one off and point-to-point interfaces.
  • Facilitates provider access to complete and accurate data on the patients they serve, regardless of where the patient went for care, enabling safer, more effective care.
  • A core set of data will be available among connected networks for permitted purposes, including treatment, payment, health care operations, individual access, and public health.
  • Will facilitate the ability for providers to retrieve data on multiple patients at once, based on a patient panel, improving their ability to perform population health management, data analytics, and quality measurement, thereby enhancing participation in value-based payment models.
  • Improves communication and care coordination across multiple care settings by connecting disparate networks.
  • Gives providers assurance they can trust the data they receive by setting minimum requirements for identity proofing and authentication.

As highlighted in this recent EHR Intelligence article, TEFCA is already gaining support and receiving positive feedback from the American Hospital Association (AHA), DirectTrust, and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). 

Here are some statements about TEFCA from these organizations:

  • This is a promising step in creating a more efficient infrastructure for sharing health information that is based on a network-of-networks approach and builds on existing efforts (AHA).
  • ONC has put forward an ambitious plan to electronically connect the nation's approximately 100 health information exchanges (HIEs) such that any authorized participant or end-user of one HIE would be able to query and access the data and information in any other HIE easily and seamlessly (DirectTrust).
  • The ONC continues to support the healthcare industry's need to strengthen stakeholder trust and assure interoperability across the trust networks (EHNAC).

The public comments period will end on Feb. 18th with the goal of publishing the final draft of TEFCA towards the end of 2018.


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