PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Gorilla, a leading aggregator of health data in the United States, today announced their intention to become one of the first designated Qualified Health Information Networks (QHIN) under the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). Health Gorilla has built a flexible interoperability platform, executing the goals of the 21st Century Cures Act Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), providing connections between healthcare providers, health plans, public health agencies, and individuals. Once designated by The Sequoia Project, the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) for TEFCA, Health Gorilla will operate as a QHIN in a "network of networks" structure, connecting with other QHINs to facilitate national exchanges of data between QHINs, Participants, and Sub-participants.
The 21st Century Cures Act, signed by President Obama in 2016, calls on ONC to "develop or support a trusted exchange framework, including a common agreement among health information networks nationally." The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's (ONC) three primary goals are to provide a single on-ramp for nationwide connectivity, attach all electronic health information (EHI) to the correct patient, and support nationwide scalability; all of which establish a floor for universal interoperability across the country. In July 2021, ONC and the RCE released a timeline for completing the Trusted Exchange Framework, intending to have QHINs operational in the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year 2022. The timeline supports the release of the final Trusted Exchange Framework in the first quarter of 2022, along with the Common Agreement V1 Final and the Qualified Health Network Technical Framework V1 Final. Once finalized, health information networks will be able to apply to become QHINs and will begin sharing data on a rolling basis after being selected and onboarded.
The Common Agreement, released in September 2021, includes six exchange purposes that organizations must support to be designated as a QHIN. The exchange purposes include Treatment, Payment, Health Care Operations, Public Health, Benefits Determination, and Individual Access Services.
Health Gorilla's proprietary platform and robust data engine make them uniquely positioned to fulfill all six permitted exchange purposes outlined in the Common Agreement. Health Gorilla's platform and FHIR-based APIs facilitate national exchanges of health information for permitted purposes and integrates with most major EMR systems and diagnostic vendors, which connects payers, labs, providers, patients, and public health officials with aggregated health data. Health Gorilla addresses the need for individual access, supporting identity proofing and connecting individuals with access to their information. Their recent entrance into the life insurance market addresses the process of Benefits Determination, securely providing life insurance underwriters, re-insurers, and risk assessors with HIPAA-compliant, permission-based access to structured and complete medical records.
"Health Gorilla is a proven leader in interoperability and is more than prepared to become a Qualified Health Information Network. For years they have operated successfully under the constantly evolving federal regulations for health IT and have built a robust and secure health information exchange platform that will benefit health care providers, the rapidly growing digital health community, and other QHINs," said Jitin Asnaani, VP Strategy & Corp Dev at Bamboo Health and former Executive Director at CommonWell Health Alliance. Jitin serves as a Health Gorilla Board Member.
Health Gorilla is committed to supporting legal, functional, and technical requirements for those health information networks designated as QHINs, and bring a robust process engine that supports:
- High-capacity networks to broker the exchange of transactions
- A flexible platform that supports a broad range of standards, including FHIR, HL7, C-CDA, and IHE Profiles
- Comprehensive master patient index (MPI) and record locator services (RLS)
- IAL2 verification and identity proofing for providers and patients
- A comprehensive security program, ensuring the security of the Health Gorilla Platform and participants. SOC-2 Type 2 certified, HIPAA-certified, and pursuing HITRUST certification
- A comprehensive governance program to ensure the highest level of compliance with industry regulations and certify exchange purposes of Participants and Subparticipants
Heath Gorilla continues to be an active stakeholder and thought leader, supplying public input on the TEFCA model as the documentation and requirements continue to evolve and are advocating for FHIR as a data format for national exchanges of data. They are participating in a number of implementation workgroups and pilot efforts, working towards the expansion of FHIR. They strongly believe that the FHIR adopted principles of reuse, performance, usability, fidelity, and implementability address the needs of the industry and align with the three overarching goals of the ONC to develop a Trusted Exchange Framework (TEF) and a Common Agreement.
Health Gorilla, an early adopter of FHIR, has built a FHIR-native data platform with substantial analytical capabilities that is compliant with FHIR R4 profiles to ensure scalable medical record retrieval. They provide a suite of industry-leading APIs and software products that power fundamental healthcare workflows and data exchange scenarios, where participants can leverage Health Gorilla's published APIs for easy "on-ramp" to the national exchange of data.
"By making this network available through FHIR-based APIs, developers can bypass complex integrations with various health information exchanges and labs while reaping all the benefits of direct connectivity. These APIs allow developers to code against an open community-based standard, leverage work already completed, ease implementations, and surface this data in their application as they see fit," said Steve Yaskin, CEO and Co-founder of Health Gorilla.
In May of 2020, Health Gorilla was recognized in the Duke University Interoperability Report as the only clinical exchange portal that met functional and security requirements for public health departments. The report stated that Health Gorilla, who is a Member of CommonWell and an Implementer on Carequality, "provides query access to all acute care sites on both networks and maintains its own set of services (MPI and RLS) and capabilities (event notifications) that could increase utility for public health."
Since that report came out, Health Gorilla continued their national expansion and recently became a member of eHealth Exchange. They are now one of the only data sources for all three national networks in the country and are well-positioned to be granted the QHIN designation.
"The success of TEFCA and the value it brings to the healthcare industry relies on a unique variety of industry leaders coming together as QHINs to create a secure and trusted network," said Paul Wilder, the Executive Director of CommonWell. "As a CommonWell member, Health Gorilla connected a variety of health care exchange participants from providers to patients and has been a valued partner as we both grew in size and scope. We look forward to working with Health Gorilla as a QHIN in the future as we all work together to improve patient data exchange nationwide."
Today, Health Gorilla acts as the single-source provider of Health Information Exchanges for the Puerto Rico Department of Health. They operate as the interoperability solution connecting payers, labs, providers, patients, and public health officials. This HIE has brought forward a new era of interoperability to Puerto Rico by streamlining care, reducing costs, empowering patients and providers, and giving public health officials the data they need to act decisively. They now connect over one million residents of Puerto Rico and enable healthcare providers to access and share patient medical record data securely and electronically across more than 430 care sites and more than 4,350 providers.
"Puerto Rico and our healthcare system have seen tremendous benefits since partnering with Health Gorilla to create the Puerto Rico Health Information Network," said Alexander Quevedo, the State Health Information Technology Coordinator at Puerto Rico Department of Health. "Together, we have built a strong network between physicians, nurses, hospitals, and health care organizations, and we look forward to seeing how Health Gorilla becoming a QHIN expands our capabilities and patient data access to the citizens of Puerto Rico."
About Health Gorilla Founded in 2014, Health Gorilla is a secure interoperability solution that enables the entire health care ecosystem – patients, payers, providers, digital health solutions, and labs – to seamlessly share health data and aggregate each patient's entire clinical history in one place. With enterprise-grade clinical data APIs, HIPAA-compliant user authentication, and an unparalleled master patient index, the Health Gorilla network makes it easy for providers to pull their patient's information from any clinical records system while ensuring adherence to the 21st Century Cures Act and to the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) standards that will go into effect in early 2022. For more information, visit healthgorilla.com or follow us on Twitter @HealthGorilla.