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September 20, 2021

ONC and The Sequoia Project Release Common Agreement Elements

Preview of policies are now available for public input

(Vienna, VA – September 20, 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 released Elements of the Common Agreement for stakeholder feedback. The RCE will host a series of webinars to provide a forum for robust discussion of key policy issues.

“The Sequoia Project, in its role as the RCE, is working diligently with ONC to prepare a draft Common Agreement,” said Mariann Yeager, chief executive officer of The Sequoia Project. “Engagement by potential QHINs and other stakeholders in the Common Agreement development process now is essential for successful implementation later.”

The much-anticipated approach to nationwide exchange of health information includes a Common Agreement that will establish the “rules of the road” and governing approach for exchange among Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs), and also includes  the QHIN Technical Framework (QTF), a draft of which was released on July 28, 20211 for public feedback. The Common Agreement itself will be a legal agreement that The Sequoia Project, as the RCE, will sign with each QHIN. Some provisions of the Common Agreement will flow down to organizations that participate in the QHIN, as well as subparticipants of those organizations, via other agreements.

“The unique role of the non-profit RCE is the ability to bring together stakeholders from across the healthcare and health IT landscape to shape the final Common Agreement and realize our goal to begin sharing in 2022,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “The overall goal of the Common Agreement is to establish a floor of universal interoperability across the country.”

The Elements of the Common Agreement  was posted on the RCE website today and outlines descriptions of elements that the RCE plans to include in the Common Agreement. In addition to stakeholder feedback events, the RCE has reconvened the 2020 Common Agreement Work Group (CAWG), consisting of potential QHINs, for review of the planned Common Agreement policies. The RCE welcomes stakeholder input through October 21, 2021 and will work with ONC to finalize Version 1 of the Common Agreement for implementation in 2022.

All stakeholders are encouraged to submit feedback on the Elements of the Common Agreement through the online feedback form and attend the Common Agreement webinar series that will include presentations by the RCE, as well as an opportunity for discussion. Registration for the Common Agreement webinars is open now on the RCE’s Community Engagement webpage.

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