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July 28, 2021

ONC and The Sequoia Project Publish Draft Technical Framework for Network-to-Network Health Information Exchange

TEFCA public-private partnership encourages feedback before finalizing framework

(Vienna, VA – July 28, 2021) – 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 published a draft of the Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework (QTF) for stakeholder feedback. The RCE will host an interactive webinar series to provide an overview of the QTF and receive public input over the coming weeks.

The technical framework focuses primarily QHIN-to-QHIN exchange requirements. QHINs will be designated by the RCE and will act as the central connection points within the network-of-networks enabled by the Common Agreement. They will route queries, responses and messages among entities and individuals sharing information according to the specific exchange purposes.

“The publication of the draft QTF for feedback is an important milestone as we look to live, in production, exchange under the Common Agreement in 2022,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “The QTF will also evolve to support new standards such as FHIR in the future and we welcome industry feedback on a proposed FHIR roadmap which will be released in the near future.”

The QTF details the functional and technical requirements that a health information network must fulfill to serve as a QHIN under the Common Agreement. These requirements include, among others, strong privacy and security steps, approaches for identifying and authenticating exchange participants, how to conduct patient discovery and identity resolution, as well as support for required exchange protocols.

“Once this QTF is final and in production, that’s just the beginning,” explained Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “The RCE will begin immediately developing the next iteration of this living framework, looking to future technological developments and needs, such as adding support for FHIR.”

The RCE has published the QTF and an Executive Summary of the QTF on its website. On Wednesday, August 4th at 1:00 p.m. ET, the RCE will host a one-hour webinar to review the framework at a high-level. Then, on Wednesday, August 18th at 3:00 p.m. ET, the RCE will host a two-hour, interactive webinar for more in-depth discussion of essential elements of the QTF. Registration for both events is open now on the RCE’s Community Engagement webpage.

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