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May 26, 2020

ONC and The Sequoia Project Announce RCE Efforts Will Continue Into Second Year

Public-private collaboration making progress towards nationwide network-to-network Health Information Exchange (HIE)

(Vienna, VA – May 26, 2020) – The Sequoia Project, selected by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) to support the implementation of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), today celebrated program achievements and ONC’s announcement of the availability of approximately $1.1 million of funding to continue the public-private engagement for a second year.

In 2019, ONC chose non-profit The Sequoia Project, to be the RCE following a competitive process during which more than 55 organizations supported The Sequoia Project’s application for the role. The RCE is charged with developing, implementing, and maintaining the Common Agreement and Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework (QTF) aspects of ONC’s TEFCA. From the beginning, The Sequoia Project has sought to instill its core principles of transparency and broad stakeholder engagement throughout the RCE process.

“The success of TEFCA depends on the support of the community,” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “By engaging stakeholders throughout the development process, we’re engendering public trust, collaborating on solutions and instilling a sense of ownership for potential future QHINS.”

Over the last eight months, the RCE has engaged more than 2,000 people, and hosted more than 27 public stakeholder engagement calls, seeking input on the process and work products, and sharing updates about progress. These meetings have generated hundreds of questions and suggestions, which are all carefully considered by the RCE. In addition to topic-specific meetings, The Sequoia Project hosts a recurring RCE public information call on the third Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is on Tuesday, June 16, at noon ET. Where possible, recordings of all calls and other materials are posted to the website (rce.sequoiaproject.org).

During its first year of the cooperative agreement (ending August 2020), the RCE has made great strides in the ongoing development of the draft Additional Required Terms and Conditions (ARTCs) and Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework (QTF). Following an overwhelming response to the call for volunteers, a Common Agreement Work Group launched in April 2020 and is helping inform the RCE’s work developing the Common Agreement Draft Version 1 to be submitted to ONC for review later this summer.

“We’re thrilled with the speed of progress in the first eight months,” continued Ms. Yeager. “With ONC’s support, the vision for a network-of-networks is moving closer to a reality, and the additional funding for a second year will allow us to continue this work at a rigorous pace.”

The RCE’s plan for the additional funding includes finalizing the RCE’s draft of the Common Agreement Version 1 and QTF Version 1, developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for operationalizing the Common Agreement, developing the process for selecting and monitoring QHINs, and creating reporting metrics for QHINs.

“We look forward to a growing level of public stakeholder feedback and engagement as we enter a pivotal year in advancing and preparing for implementation of  nationwide interoperable health information sharing under TEFCA,” said Ms. Yeager.


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