It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the last quarter of the year. We hope that your 2023 interoperability focused projects are making excellent progress.  In addition to making sure we are helping clients achieve their immediate goals, we are also closely monitoring events at a national level. The big one is that the TEFCA rollout continues to move ahead, with candidate QHINs busy with QHIN onboarding testing.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn about how TEFCA and QHINs are changing the way data is shared across the country, now is a good time to catch up.

Let’s take a quick look at where TEFCA stands right now and what you need to know moving into the future, including some Zen predictions about the potential impacts:

  • TEFCA isn’t mandatory yet, but it’s gaining traction as a potential  “safe harbor” for data sharing requirements.
  • TEFCA will become the primary way that nationwide data exchange occurs for the mandated purposes of use (POU). The two most important POUs in the early days will be Treatment and Request (Patient request for their own data).
  • Existing national networks such as eHealth Exchange (eHEX) and Commonwell Alliance will increasingly put their focus on their QHIN participants and use cases.
  • QHIN Candidates that are EHR based (like Epic currently) will strongly encourage their clients to make TEFCA their preferred way of doing nationwide data exchange. Also – we expect that more EHRs will be in the next round of QHIN candidates. 

Looking to catch up on TEFCA overall? We wrote a two part series on TEFCA to help get prepared. You can start with part 1 here.

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  • The ONC Publishes an update to their Security Risk Assessment Tool Per the ONC’s website, “ONC and the HHS Office for Civil Rights have released version 3.4 of the popular HHS Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool. This tool is designed to aid small and medium sized healthcare organizations in their efforts to assess security risks. The latest version of the SRA Tool contains a variety of feature enhancements based on user feedback and public input.”  Seems like a great resource for our HIE and healthcare tech clients to be promoting to their mid to small size provider groups!

  • Speaking of the ONC, here is an Interesting ONC Publication regarding the hospital use of APIs for Patient Access. Per the ONC’s recent study, “hospitals have made significant progress in enabling data sharing between their EHRs and apps – particularly larger facilities and those affiliated with a healthcare system. According to the data, 4 in 5 non-federal acute care hospitals use APIs for three key functions: to enable provider apps to write data to and read data from the EHR, and to grant patient access to EHR data through patient-facing apps.”  But they also found that this is true only in a group of hospitals using “the three largest EHRs by market share”.

    • I suspect most of this FHIR based API adoption is “closely held” – meaning it’s being used internally to the health system, where it specifically benefits them, and isn’t being leveraged for broader data sharing use cases. 

  • To wrap up our ONC focused updates, be sure to mark your calendars for the ONC’s 2023 Annual Meeting, Dec 14-15th in D.C. Given how close TEFCA is to starting production data exchange, this is probably the most important ONC Annual meeting since the concept of “meaningful use” was introduced.  

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