On Friday, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued the second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, which outlines principles to support the nationwide exchange of health information.

The goal of TEFCA is to help ensure health information networks, individuals, providers, health plans and other stakeholders can have access to electronic health information.

ONC released draft one of the Trusted Exchange Framework for public comment in January 2018. After reviewing the comments, its new draft includes changes such as updating the purposes for which information can be exchanged and extending timelines for participating organizations to implement changes that will be required by the Common Agreement.

ONC is now asking for comments on three documents:

  • The second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework, a set of principles by which health information networks should abide to enable data exchange
  • The second draft of the Minimum Required Terms and Conditions, the mandatory terms and conditions that qualified health information networks (QHINs) voluntarily agree to follow
  • The first draft of the QHIN Technical Framework, a document that details the technical and functional components for exchange among QHINs

Together, the documents create the basis of a single Common Agreement, which includes baseline technical and legal requirements for sharing electronic health information across disparate networks.

Comments for these documents are due on June 17, 2019.

“The updated Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement we issued today considered the more than 200 comments we received on our previous draft and reflects extensive work with our federal partners,” Don Rucker, national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement. “The future Common Agreement, made possible by the steps we take today, will provide the governance necessary to meet the interoperability demands of diverse stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, and health plans.”

In addition to releasing the second draft, ONC has announced a funding opportunity, which will allow a nonprofit, industry-based organization to develop, update, implement and maintain the Common Agreement and the QHIN Technical Framework. Applications are due on June 17.

Also on Friday, HHS said it is extending the public comment period by 30 days for two proposed interoperability regulations. The new deadline for comment submission is June 3. The proposed rules were originally announced in February.

Photo: DrAfter123, Getty Images

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