HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Sequoia Project released a draft framework Wednesday that outlines technical requirements for health information networks that participate in a nationwide data-sharing network known as TEFCA.
ONC plans to launch the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) network in the first quarter of next year, the agency announced earlier this month. Would-be participants will then be able to apply to become qualified health information networks (QHINs) under the program.
The Sequoia Project,, a healthcare interoperability not-for-profit, will designate QHINs, which will be charged with routing requests for data and delivering the responses among providers and health plans.
To be eligible to be a QHIN, health information networks must agree to functional and technical requirements outlined in the new draft framework , including standards on privacy, security and approaches for identifying specific network participants and patients before exchanging data.
The Sequoia Project is seeking feedback on the draft, which it plans to finalize and release in the first quarter of 2022.
ONC tapped the Sequoia Project two years ago to help the agency develop and implement TEFCA. The program derives from the 21st Century Cures Act and aims to improve healthcare interoperability by setting federally recognized data-sharing standards for state, regional and national health information networks.
The Sequoia Project will continue to revise the framework over time. Support for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources may be included in future versions. The FHIR data standard underpins aspects of ONC and CMS' companion interoperability regulations, which went into effect earlier this year. ONC and the Sequoia Project plan to propose an FHIR roadmap for the technical framework in the near future, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Micky Tripathi said in a news release.