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The nonprofit will be responsible for developing, updating, implementing and maintaining the common agreement.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced that The Sequoia Project, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing secure, interoperable health information exchange, will serve as the recognized coordinating entity for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).
In this role, The Sequoia Project will be responsible for developing, updating, implementing and maintaining the common agreement, which aims to create baseline requirements for health information networks to share electronic information. The common agreement is part of the ONC’s implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act.
“The Sequoia Project was selected through a competitive process to help with the interoperable flow of health information,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health IT.
The Sequoia Project will also work with ONC to designate and monitor Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs), modify and update accompanying QHIN technical requirements and engage with stakeholders through virtual sessions. The recognized coordinating entity will also adjudicate noncompliance with the agreement and propose strategies to support TEFCA beyond the agreement.
The nonprofit is looking forward to working as the recognized coordinating entity, according to Mariann Yeager, MBA, CEO of The Sequoia Project.
This past June, The Sequoia Project urged ONC to be mindful of the intent that the second draft of TEFCA avoid disruption and duplication of existing exchanges between participants of health information networks.
In a letter submitted to Rucker, members of The Sequoia Project wrote that they want ONC to minimize of eliminate duplication and disruption, especially in the need to revise legal agreements.
While the letter offered recommendations to ONC, it also expressed support for certain aspects of the framework.
The Sequoia Project members support that the QHIN framework would be incorporated by reference in the common agreement and finalized by the recognized coordinating entity — which is now part of its duty.
“We have learned through our own operations that seamless nationwide sharing of health information is most readily enabled through trust agreements, consistent policy and technical requirements, and appropriate, balanced governance to provide assurance of trust and interoperability,” said Yeager.
“We look forward to working in close collaboration with The Sequoia Project and across the broader health system to create a Common Agreement that best serves the needs of all stakeholders,” Rucker said.
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