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So TEFCA is live. Now what?

So TEFCA is live. Now what?

Global Edition2022 Look AheadSo TEFCA is live. Now what?Former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Don Rucker discusses what’s next for interoperability and why he sees TEFCA as a ‘solid first step.‘By Kat JercichJanuary 24, 202202:58 PMPhoto: HIMSS MediaThis past week, the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced that the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement is now live. The announcement marks a major step forward toward nationwide interoperability, aimed at simplifying inter-organizational connectivity and ultimately giving individuals access to their healthcare information. TEFCA has been in progress over multiple administrations following the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016 and few have a better sense of its ins and outs than Dr. Donald Rucker, who served as national coordinator for health IT from 2017 through 2021. Rucker, now chief strategy officer with 1upHealth, sat down with Healthcare IT News to chat about what’s next for interoperability in the United States, the advantages of FHIR-enabled tools and the importance of being able to analyze population-wide health data. Q. What interoperability challenges do you see TEFCA addressing? A. It’s a hard space. And it’s worth understanding why it’s hard. You can look at connectivity: Are we getting information on one patient? Or on a population? And then, the other dimension is: Is this connectivity the patient controlsor that gets data into patients’ hands, or is this connectivity between providers? Sothose are probably three somewhat separate buckets. TEFCA is really about the incumbent providers sitting on electronic medical records and getting the various medical record vendor networks first and foremost and then the health information exchanges to talk to each other. This is important in a lot of healthcarebecause patients may be too sick, or too young, or too oldto remember medical details. If you come into the trauma bay, you may not be able to remember what your password is or your provider site.I see TEFCA, as it is, as sort of a placeholder for some of the richer computing that needs to follow if we’re going to have a rational healthcare system. If we’re going to do the things that are measures of value, measures of public health support for social determinants of health, we need sort of a different system than the connectivity pathways that we have today.

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321TEFCA is Go for Launch

321TEFCA is Go for Launch

The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement is now available. Within the health information technology (health IT) world, few things have been as elusive as a governance framework for nationwide health information exchange. When ONC was formed in 2004, the concept of a nationwide health information networkwhere your information could be located across the country in a clickwas a big picture vision that drove the federal governments early health IT infrastructure, standards, policy actions, and investments.Whats followed as a result of two laws (HITECH Act and 21st Century Cures Act) and remarkable continuity across four administrations has been steady growth, maturity, and investment from both the public and private sectors. Most health care providers use electronic health records.1,2,3 Many are connected to and engage in at least one form of electronic health information exchange.4,5,6 And health information networks are now dotted across the US map supporting communities with a wide range of services.7Todays milestone marks the beginning of a new era of electronic health information exchange in the US. That world we wanted to see back in 2004its hereand now its time to put what weve built to use.Our goals for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) are:Goal 1: Establish a universal policy and technical floor for nationwide interoperability.Goal 2: Simplify connectivity for organizations to securely exchange information to improve patient care, enhance the welfare of populations, and generate health care value.Goal 3: Enable individuals to gather their health care information.

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