ONC Awards The Sequoia Project a Cooperative Agreement for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement to Support Advancing Nationwide Interoperability of Electronic Health Information

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announces that The Sequoia Project has been awarded a cooperative agreement to serve as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE). The RCE will be responsible for developing, updating, implementing, and maintaining the Common Agreement component of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). The Common Agreement will create the baseline technical and legal requirements for health information networks to share electronic health information and is part of ONC’s implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act).

“The Sequoia Project was selected through a competitive process to help with the interoperable flow of health information. 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,” said Don Rucker, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

In the Cures Act, Congress directed HHS to advance trusted exchange of electronic health information among health information networks through the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement. The Cures Act’s focus on trusted exchange is an important step toward fostering transparency and competition throughout the healthcare delivery system by addressing the technical barriers and business practices that impede the secure and appropriate sharing of electronic health information.

In addition to the Common Agreement, the RCE will collaborate with ONC to designate and monitor Qualified Health Information Networks (QHIN), modify and update accompanying QHIN technical requirements, engage with stakeholders through virtual public listening sessions, adjudicate noncompliance with the Common Agreement, and propose sustainability strategies to support TEFCA beyond the cooperative agreement’s period of performance.

“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. We look forward to working alongside ONC as the Recognized Coordinating Entity,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project.

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