Sequoia Project to create work group to help develop Common Agreement

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The Sequoia Project is putting together a work group to inform its efforts to develop the Common Agreement, the baseline technical and legal requirements for health information networks to electronically share data nationwide.

Now, through February 28, The Sequoia Project—in its role as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE)—is accepting applications for the Common Agreement Work Group (CAWG), which will start on April 1 and convene for 120 days.

“In advance of the launch of the CAWG, the RCE is hosting a series of four public webinars focused on specific Common Agreement provisions developed by the RCE, the Additional Required Terms and Conditions (ARTCs),” according to the announcement. “The community feedback collected at these 90-minute public meetings will inform the work group’s efforts.”

In September, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT selected The Sequoia Project to serve as the RCE responsible for developing, updating, implementing and maintaining the Common Agreement—as part of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) framework—in collaboration with ONC.

“We’re entering a critical phase of the Common Agreement development process, and we need input from organizations that will agree to participate in exchange activities under the purview of the Common Agreement—this will ensure the agreement is both practical and adopted with broad support,” says Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project. “This work provides an opportunity for the health IT community to shape the future of interoperability through TEFCA. It’s essential we engage the implementation community and provide as many opportunities as possible for everyone to participate.”

According to The Sequoia Project’s announcement, the draft Common Agreement will be posted for public comment by ONC after the work group’s efforts conclude.

In addition to the Common Agreement, the RCE will collaborate with ONC to designate and monitor Qualified Health Information Networks (QHIN), modify and update accompanying QHIN technical requirements, engage with stakeholders through virtual public listening sessions, adjudicate noncompliance with the Common Agreement, and propose sustainability strategies to support TEFCA beyond the cooperative agreement’s period of performance.

TEFCA, drafted by ONC, is intended to support nationwide interoperability by outlining a common set of principles, and minimum terms and conditions for trusted data exchange as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act.

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