Building TEFCA

Micky Tripathi and Mariann Yeager, CEO, The Sequoia Project (the TEFCA Recognized Coordinating Entity) | February 13, 2023

A little over a year ago, we announced the completion of a critical 21st Century Cures Act requirement by publishing the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common AgreementSM (TEFCASM). This milestone established a clear infrastructure model and governing approach for nationwide health information exchange.

Today, we marked the next major milestone during an event at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) headquarters, which recognized the first set of networks to be approved to implement TEFCA as prospective Qualified Health Information NetworksTM (QHINsTM). Once fully onboarded, the organizations will officially be “designated” as QHINs. At this event, HHS Secretary Becerra recognized and congratulated CommonWell Health Alliance, eHealth Exchange, Epic TEFCA Interoperability Services, Health Gorilla, Kno2, and KONZA for their willingness to voluntarily step up and meet the rigorous TEFCA eligibility requirements, terms and conditions of TEFCA participation, and commitment to a 12-month go-live timeline. Collectively, the QHIN applicants have networks that cover most U.S. hospitals, tens of thousands of providers, and process billions of annual transactions across all fifty states.

This is a significant step for the U.S. health system and one that will advance interoperability at scale for patients, health care providers, hospitals, public health agencies, health insurers, and other authorized health care stakeholders. Strong privacy and security protections are required of QHINs and their expanded connectivity will help improve the quality, safety, affordability, efficiency, and equitability of health care across the country. Nearly every American that uses the health care system will eventually experience the benefits.

We want to thank the other HHS and federal leaders who joined us in recognizing this milestone today including the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. Arati Prabhakar, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CMS Principal Deputy Administrator and COO Jonathan Blum, and VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal. Their support for health IT initiatives has been critical to implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act.

We want to also express deep gratitude to the ONC and The Sequoia Project staff, as well as the health IT community for all their work to bring TEFCA to life. The Sequoia Project team has worked diligently to communicate with and collect feedback from the public as the specific policies, procedures, and technical implementation requirements were developed to meet the goals of TEFCA.

While today is cause for celebration, our work on TEFCA has really just begun. We look forward to welcoming additional QHIN applicants in the coming months and for the network to become fully operational. For organizations interested in the QHIN application, onboarding, and designation process, please visit The Sequoia Project and ONC websites.

View recording of HHS Event Recognizing QHIN Applicants.