„The Sequoia project has always advocated for a transparent and inclusive approach to developing trusting agreements that create trust and are used to share health information nationally,“ said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. „We include this commitment in our work as an NCE and invite all potential QHIN to apply to inform our work on the development of the Common Agreement.“ Since the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016, federal authorities have been working to develop systems that allow health information networks to share information across the country. TEFCA provides a framework for the exchange of patient information, which is absolutely necessary for our industry to improve our ability to fill our data silos. The goals that have pushed TEFCA to this point are good, but the road ahead will not be easy. In general, the goal is „more data where it is needed.“ While this may be helpful, many of us know that more is not necessarily better. For TEFCA`s objectives to be achieved, there is still an ugly barrier. This problem is the quality of the data we have and that we share. Until we better control the quality of our data in each participant, we have the inherent risk of sharing a virus instead of a cure. If you look at our schoober analogy, you want to make sure your student has been vaccinated properly before sending him to school to avoid a measles outbreak. To address this issue, I think we need to think about how to improve the quality of the information we share. I don`t want to sound pessimistic. I think the TEFCA is a big step in the right direction.
All we need to know is that we may not get the results we expect until we address the data quality issue. If we don`t get these results at first, we should resist the urge to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If we break the data quality barrier, we will be much better off with something like LEFCA. „The seamless interoperable exchange of health information is a key element in building a health system that enables patients and health care providers and provides better care at a lower cost,“ said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. „The 21st Century Cures Act has taken an important step towards this goal by promoting a national framework and a common agreement for a reliable exchange of health information.