ONC picks The Sequoia Project to set info exchange rules

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has tasked The Sequoia Project with creating baseline technical and legal requirements for health information networks.

The requirements are intended to enable healthcare organizations to share electronic health information in support of the 21st Century Cures Act.

The Sequoia Project operates a national health information network. The organization was selected through a competitive process to help with the interoperable flow of health information, says Don Rucker, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology.

“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,” he adds.

ONC is contributing $900,000 for the project during the first year. The Cures Act’s focus on trusted exchange is an important step toward fostering transparency and competition in the industry by addressing technical barriers and business practices that impede secure and appropriate sharing of electronic health information.

“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,” says Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project.

The goals are to find a way to exchange data to interconnect among disparate networks, and bring providers, vendors, local and federal governments and other stakeholders to definitively reach agreement on data exchange.

This will provide a way to exchange lab reports, support electronic prescribing and home networks, and more easily exchange among various types of providers.

“This is going to operate for the public good and open opportunities for all to provide feedback and have active engagement with trusted input, tying together networks into a cohesive manner,” Yeager adds. The program also will seek to address information blocking.

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