HHS Expands TEFCA by Adding Two Additional QHINs

Seven QHINs will now safely and securely exchange critical health information for patient care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), announced that two additional organizations—CommonWell Health Alliance and Kno2—have been designated as Qualified Health Information Networks™ (QHINs™) capable of nationwide health data exchange governed by the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). ONC has led a multi-year, public-private process alongside its Recognized Coordinating Entity®, The Sequoia Project, Inc., to implement TEFCA, which was envisioned by the 21st Century Cures Act to support nationwide interoperability. TEFCA became operational in December 2023 with the designation of the first five QHINs—eHealth Exchange, Epic Nexus, Health Gorilla, KONZA, and MedAllies.

CommonWell Health Alliance and Kno2 can immediately begin supporting the exchange of data under the Common Agreement’s policies and technical requirements along with the other designated QHINs. QHINs are the pillars of TEFCA network-to-network exchange, providing shared services and governance to securely route queries, responses, and messages across networks for health care stakeholders including patients, providers, hospitals, health systems, payers, and public health agencies.

“These additional QHINs expand TEFCA’s reach and provide additional connectivity choices for patients, health care providers, hospitals, public health agencies, health insurers, and other authorized health care professionals,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “On behalf of ONC, I want to congratulate CommonWell Health Alliance and Kno2 for their achievement.”

“The designation of these two QHINs, which brings the total number of QHINs to seven, highlights the rapid expansion of TEFCA exchange and the support of more and more leaders around TEFCA exchange,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project and RCE lead.

Common Agreement Version 2.0, which is anticipated to include enhancements and updates to require support for Health Level Seven (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) based transactions, is actively under development and scheduled to be adopted by QHINs within the first quarter of 2024.