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    Does ONC’s latest announcement move interoperability any closer to reality?

    In early January, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), a set of guidelines for how information can be exchanged as part of an effort to move the healthcare industry toward interoperability.


    RELATED READING: How to eliminate EHR-based medical errors


    Medical Economics recently spoke with David Kibbe, MD, the president and chief executive officer of DirectTrust, a nonprofit association of 121 health IT and healthcare provider organizations that support interoperable health information about the announcement and what it means for both interoperability and the doctors that need it.David Kibbe, MD

    Medical Economics: In simple terms, what is TEFCA and what does it do?

    David Kibbe: ONC was required by Congress as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to develop the Trusted Exchange Framework and its accompanying Common Agreement, which together aim to create a common set of principles for trusted exchange of electronic health information as well as minimum terms and conditions that healthcare providers must meet when exchanging health information. The framework aims to create a technical and governance infrastructure that connects disparate health information networks together through a core of “qualified health information networks,” those networks that have pledged to follow the terms of TEFCA.

    TEFCA is a draft regulation for public comments due Feb. 20, 2018. As far as we can tell, it is an ambitious proposal that aims to increase health information exchange in three areas: patient access to their health records, population-level data for analysis and research, and entrepreneurial innovation through requiring the use of open and accessible FHIR APIs (Application Programing Interfaces that would allow devices like iPhones to be able to call up and deliver one’s health data.)

    Next: Is interoperability getting closer?


    Todd Shryock
    Todd Shryock, contributing author


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