2023 was a transformative year for us - we achieved designation as a Qualified Health Information Network™ (QHIN™) under TEFCA℠ and a Qualified Health InformationOrganization in California. The interoperability landscape has fundamentally shifted into a new era of secure, government-designated exchange, and we’re ready to make a new set of predictions for the new year.
Prediction 1: Expansion and Maturation of QHIN Ecosystem
Now that TEFCA is live, we expect to see a significant expansion in the data available to exchange among QHINs, higher response rates for Individual Access Services and additional use-cases, and we anticipate some of the nation’s largest healthcare organizations will start sharing data through QHINs. This growth will establish a network effect of sorts, bringing more data and a diversity of data into the network, therefore making it more attractive to other healthcare organizations to make the leap.
Prediction 2: Additional Federal Proposals to Incentivize TEFCA Participation
We predict that there will be additional proposals from multiple federal agencies to incentivize and promote TEFCA. Before QHINs were designated, we already saw proposals from CMS that would provide financial incentives for organizations participating in TEFCA exchange. With QHINs now operational, we expect to see a range of new proposals in 2024, which could provide financial benefits or regulatory advantages. As these proposals become formalized, adopting TEFCA standards will likely accelerate.
Prediction 3: More Organizations Respond to Individual Access Services
A key focus in 2024 will be empowering patients with greater access and control over their health data, and this is now possible at a national level with TEFCA. At the end of 2023, Health Gorilla facilitated the first direct patient request for data on TEFCA through its collaboration with Otis Health. This was a critical turning point to prove that IAS was operational, and in 2024, we expect to see more organizations responding to IAS queries. There is high interest from the community in enabling patients to participate in their healthcare decisions, and making IAS mainstream is a significant step forward.
Prediction 4: Strengthened Regional and National Data Exchange Synergy
In 2024, we expect a more substantial alignment between regional and national exchange. In late 2023, we saw the emergence of the first state data exchange framework from California Health and Human Services. In parallel, TEFCA went live at the federal level. We think 2024 will solidify the role of both national exchange, enabling collaboration among large institutions and health systems, and regional exchange, providing deepened connectivity that caters to state or local needs. In California, the Data Exchange Framework focuses on unlocking the exchange of social services data, ADT event notifications, and unlocking treatment, IAS, payment, and operations use-cases with a smaller but trusted network of organizations in the state.
Prediction 5: The First Real AI Use-Cases Will Emerge from QHIN Participants
We believe that QHIN participants will be the first to introduce practical and likely groundbreaking AI solutions, as allowed under HIPAA and other privacy regulations, informed and trained by comprehensive patient data. QHINs facilitate more extensive data exchange, providing a rich foundation for AI applications that meet an appropriate exchange purpose and as permitted by applicable law. This could result in highly advanced diagnostic tools to personalized treatment plans driven by deep learning algorithms that analyze vast datasets. AI could be leveraged to identify patterns in patient data, predict health risks, and suggest preventive measures. Moreover, AI-driven analytics might offer insights into population health trends, enabling healthcare providers to tailor their services more effectively to community needs. QHINs finally becoming live may accelerate actual AI adoption in healthcare, and we expect to see actual patient benefits in 2024.
So there you have it! We’re in for an exciting 2024 for US healthcare with a more interconnected, secure, and patient-centric system. The advancements in TEFCA, QHINs, and QHIOs are poised to transform how health data is shared and utilized, driving improvements in patient care and healthcare delivery. Our team looks forward to playing our part in making these predictions a reality.