Surescripts recently responded to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). The goal of TEFCA is to advance the establishment of a national health exchange infrastructure, an objective of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.
Released in January, the proposed framework outlines a “set of principles and the minimum terms for trusted exchange” and aims to create the technical and governance infrastructure through which different health information networks will connect and share information. As a pioneer in connecting healthcare entities nationwide, Surescripts understands that trust is critical to the exchange of health information, and we applaud ONC’s focus on elements that build trust, including standards, safety, privacy and security.
TEFCA also builds upon guidance from the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, which Surescripts strongly supports. Surescripts has been advancing interoperability through e-prescribing for 17 years, and we now connect more than 99% of all U.S. retail pharmacies and most mail order pharmacies. During the past several years, we’ve expanded our offerings to include solutions that deliver actionable patient intelligence to enhance prescribing and inform care decisions.
Although we agree with much of TEFCA’s content, we do have some concerns, particularly when it comes to implementation. The current draft proposes a rigid timeline for the adoption of TEFCA. We believe no network or other organization can meet all of the requirements without substantial cost and effort, and that even under the best of circumstances, it will take longer than the proposed timeframe to comply.
We also feel the framework’s proposed “singular on-ramp” for all providers may hinder innovation. It is extremely important to ensure that TEFCA allows all market participants to continue to innovate, compete, encourage entrants into the market and develop new business models that create financial sustainability for networks and their participants.