On Thursday Epic announced that it will join the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, and that when the application process opens later this year it will apply to connect to TEFCA as an inaugural Qualified Health Information Network.
WHY IT MATTERS
The Verona, Wisconsin-based health IT colossus says joining the new information exchange network will enable its vast cross-section of provider customers to broaden and streamline interoperability nationwide, helping “ensure that all people benefit from complete, longitudinal health records wherever they receive care.”
Epic says it worked with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, along with TEFCA’s recognized coordinating entity, the Sequoia Project, on the project, and plans to collaborate with the other healthcare organizations around the country to “build consensus around the principles and procedures of TEFCA.”
The company’s data exchange footprint across its own provider base today is large, with customers in its Care Everywhere network exchanging more than 10 million patient charts every day – half of them with organizations that use different IT systems, according to Epic. The majority of these provider clients also share data through the Carequality framework, which includes about 70% of U.S. hospitals.
THE LARGER TREND
The Sequoia Project published draft onboarding and designation standard operating procedures for potential Qualified Health Information Networks this past month.
As National Coordinator for Health IT Micky Tripathi noted at HIMSS22 earlier this year, TEFCA has big goals and plans to expand its purview beyond provider-focused clinical care – eventually enabling a “North Star” architecture for public health data exchange. In its announcement, Epic noted its desire to be part of those efforts.
Meanwhile, many providers – and vendors, given that it could be a “tremendous business opportunity” for developers – still have lots of questions about just what TEFCA is and what it will mean for how they practice.
Here’s a Q&A about “everything you wanted to know about TEFCA (but were afraid to ask).” And here’s a podcast about how to start preparing for the new exchange paradigm now.
ON THE RECORD
“Our fundamental goal is to help all patients receive informed, personalized care – regardless of where they go to receive it,” said Dave Fuhrmann, senior vice president of interoperability at Epic announcing its plan to be a TEFCA QHIN. “Our customers have led the way with large-scale interoperability through Carequality, and we’re happy to help with the next stage in the evolution of interoperability.”