QHINs Mark a Step Toward Interoperability
By Hannah Wisterman

Physicians likely don’t need another acronym in their vocabulary, but “QHINs” bring some good news that translates to greater access to patient information.   

In a landmark step that will improve the long sought-after interoperability of health information, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently named six organizations that, by becoming “qualified health information networks” (QHINs), will be able to connect to each other and exchange health care information nationally.  

The six organizations are:  

These prospective QHINs have agreed to meet a common set of interoperability standards known as the  (TEFCA). 

The Texas Medical Association has long advocated that interoperability – the ability of electronic health records (EHRs) and other systems to securely communicate patient health information to different physicians and points of care – is crucial to medical decisionmaking.  

To that end, practices may use a regional health information exchange (HIE), which can communicate health care data among a set group in a community.   

Much like an HIE, a health information network (HIN) securely communicates between entities. However, an HIN operates on a larger scale than an HIE and likely provides connections between HIEs.  

https://www.healthit.gov/topic/interoperability/policy/trusted-exchange-framework-and-common-agreement-tefcaWhile the QHINs are not yet finalized – a 12 month timeline is expected – TMA experts say HHS’ announcement shows progress. QHINs will facilitate information exchange that previously may have been impossible by connecting local HIEs, EHRs, and other entities that operate under the six approved organizations.  

TMA continues to monitor developments as this work progresses. 

To learn more about HIEs and take advantage of related TMA resources, visit TMA’s dedicated HIE webpage.  


Last Updated On

March 07, 2023

Originally Published On

March 07, 2023

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Hannah Wisterman


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Hannah Wisterman is an associate editor for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. She was born and raised in Houston and holds a journalism degree from Texas State University in San Marcos. She's spent most of her career in health journalism, especially in the areas of reproductive and public health. When she's not reporting, editing, or learning, you can find her exploring Austin or spending time with her partner, cat, and houseplants.

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