CAQH Announces Development of National Directory of FHIR Endpoints

October 12, 2020

Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare, Inc.'s solution will facilitate how health plans, Medicaid agencies and third-party apps find and share technology connections to provide consumers greater access to their healthcare data.

CAQH recently announced the development of a centralized directory of validated payer FHIR endpoints and third-party applications. This solution will simplify how healthcare organizations and app developers connect with each other to help consumers access and transfer their healthcare information, according to a news release.

The directory, developed with support from the technology company Edifecs, will help payers meet new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) interoperability regulations that become effective in 2021 and 2022.

“A single trusted directory of payer FHIR endpoints and third-party apps is essential to expand interoperability, reduce burdens and provide consumers greater access to their healthcare information,” says Robin Thomashauer, CAQH President. “For two decades, CAQH has worked with the healthcare industry to develop solutions that address just this kind of challenge, and we’re pleased to help advance this important national initiative.”

Earlier this year, CMS released a final Interoperability and Patient Access rule that requires CMS-regulated plans to enable consumers to access their healthcare information on a third-party app of their choice. Under the rule, consumers must also be able to transfer that information from a previous health plan to their current plan. The CMS rule requires the use of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) application programming interfaces (APIs) to share this information between plans and apps. The CMS rule is intended to facilitate better decision-making, care coordination and improved health outcomes.

With the number of plans and third-party apps in the healthcare ecosystem, a directory of FHIR endpoints will enable plans and application developers to efficiently find, validate and update the connections needed to exchange information.

Today, there are more than 300,000 possible connections, and without a trusted directory, each plan and developer would have to find, catalogue, verify and maintain these endpoint connections on their own.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) FHIR at Scale Task Force (FAST) has highlighted the need for an endpoint directory as part of an overarching set of proposed solutions to advance FHIR implementation. A prototype of the CAQH Endpoint Directory that builds on the ONC FAST foundation was presented at a recent HL7 FHIR Connectathon to gather industry feedback to refine the directory. Over the coming months, CAQH will continue to engage industry implementers and experts to launch the solution early in 2021 in time to enable plans to meet CMS requirements, the release says.

To learn more about the CAQH Endpoint Directory, visit https://www.caqh.org/solutions/caqh-endpoint-directory.