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HIMSS is calling on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to change requirements for Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs) under the federal agency’s draft Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).
In a February 20 letter to ONC head Donald Rucker, HIMSS Chair Denise W. Hines and CEO Harold F. Wolf III praised the TEFCA draft guidance for taking the right approach in attempting to “minimize the point-to-point interface agreements required in the long-term and the flexibility for providers to find the right exchange network that supports their care delivery model needs.”
“The overall concept underlying TEFCA is pushing our nation in the appropriate direction of enabling providers and communities to deliver smarter, safer, and more efficient care; promoting innovation at all levels; and, achieving a system where individuals are at the center of their care and where providers have the ability to securely access and use health information from different sources,” the HIMSS leaders wrote.
The HIMSS letter proposes maintaining the role of the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE), which, according to the ONC, will be responsible for ensuring the Trusted Exchange Framework is operational and which will be selected through a competitive process.
But HIMSS also said it “would like to see changes around what is required of QHINs as well as the eligibility requirements for Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs).”
“HIMSS looks to find a path forward that allows existing interoperability exchanges, networks, approaches, and frameworks to largely continue to function under their existing business models, qualify as QHINs, and have them report to the RCE as the primary oversight mechanism of TEFCA,” the letter said.
“Today, there is significant momentum being built across the community to support broader nationwide exchange. All of the major interoperability approaches ONC identified as part of the process to implement 21st Century Cures have made considerable progress in building the reach of their networks, increasing collaborations/partnerships with other approaches, and enhancing the services that they offer to providers and other interoperability participants,” Hines and Wolf wrote. “However, HIMSS is concerned that the community will not be able to maintain the current upward trajectory of nationwide interoperability if these entities have to make significant adjustments to their workplans to become QHINs under TEFCA.”