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ONC for Health IT launches common agreement version 2.0

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Sequoia Project on Monday announced the launch of Common Agreement Version 2.0, an update to the document most recently released this past November.

ONC also published new Participant and Subparticipant Terms of Participation, which set forth the requirements that participants must agree to and comply with to exchange data under the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

Why it matters
ONC and Sequoia say the seven designated Qualified Health Information Networks under TEFCA can now adopt and begin implementing the new version, CA v2.0, which has been updated to require support for API exchange using HL7’s FHIR spec.

That will allow TEFCA participants and subparticipants to more easily exchange health information among themselves and will help individuals to more easily access their own data using devices and apps of their choice.

TEFCA’s common agreement sets up the technical infrastructure model and governing approach for different health information networks and their users to securely share clinical information with each other – all under commonly agreed-to rules-of-the-road.

The new enhancements and updates “mark a huge step forward for TEFCA as it meets the promise of seamless nationwide exchange at scale,” according to ONC lists some concepts that have evolved from Common Agreement v1.1 to v2.0.

Meanwhile, new Participant and Subparticipant Terms of Participation for TEFCA will improve the framework by providing a standalone document that participants can incorporate into existing data use agreements – helping reduce legal costs and other burdens for organizations looking to connect

The larger trend
This past December, ONC and Sequoia Project, TEFCA’s recognized coordinating entity, announced that it was live and ready to exchange data via five QHINs: eHealth Exchange, Epic Nexus, Health Gorilla, KONZA and MedAllies.

“The initial exchange of clinical data began within 24 hours of the nation’s first Qualified Health Information Networks achieving designation in December 2023,” said Mariann Yeager, The Sequoia Project CEO and RCE lead.

Two months ago, two more QHINs, CommonWell and Kno2, were also onboarded.

The Sequoia Project had been seeking stakeholder feedback this year on updates to the Common Agreement and new terms of participation, also publishing a series of drafts to support wider use of FHIR and improving operating procedures for electronic case reporting and improving the framework more generally.

On the record
“Today’s release includes framework enhancements, including greater use of FHIR, better support for use cases beyond treatment, and simplified onboarding for participants like clinicians, digital health apps, public health agencies and other end users of health data,” said Yeager.

“We have long intended for TEFCA to have the capacity to enable FHIR API exchange,” said National Coordinator for Health IT Micky Tripathi. “This is in direct response to the health IT industry’s move toward standardized APIs with modern privacy and security safeguards, and allows TEFCA to keep pace with the advanced, secure data services approaches used by the tech industry.” Healthcare IT News

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