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Forthcoming ONC Health IT Certification Rule Will Support TEFCA

A proposed rule would update the ONC Health IT Certification Program to support voluntary TEFCA attestation.

A forthcoming proposed rule will update the ONC Health IT Certification Program to support TEFCA.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- ONC recently announced the development of a new proposed rule that would update the Health IT Certification Program to support voluntary attestation to the adoption of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) to promote network-to-network connectivity.

TEFCA primarily aims to give patients access to their electronic health data without special effort and help providers and payer organizations receive population-level health data.

The framework will also help to ensure the health IT community can utilize open and accessible application programing interfaces (APIs) to promote innovation.

While the framework has so far been met with unanimous support from stakeholders throughout the healthcare industry, health information exchanges (HIEs) will need to make significant changes to their business models to support the ambitious priorities and requirements of the voluntary framework within ONC’s drafted timeline.

The forthcoming proposed rule would also help to advance certain provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, including “the voluntary certification of health IT for use by pediatric healthcare providers,” the agency stated.

Furthermore, the proposed rule would include a definition of information blocking and specifically outline activities that do not constitute information blocking.

Some health IT industry experts predict these highly-anticipated information blocking regulations will significantly change the nature of health data exchange. While TEFCA is voluntary, upcoming information blocking regulations will be applicable to the entire industry.

“The rulemaking would also modify the Program through other complementary means to advance health IT certification and interoperability,” concluded ONC.

The rule is slated for release in September 2018.

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