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ONC Seeking Feedback on Common Agreement and Exchange Framework

July 26, 2017
by Heather Landi
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On Monday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) kicked off the first of three meetings and webinars to inform the public about the department’s work related to the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act trusted exchange framework and common agreement provisions.

Charged with supporting nationwide interoperability under the Cures Act, section 4003 of the law directs ONC to establish a trusted exchange framework for policies and practices as well as a common agreement for exchange between health information networks. ONC officials have indicated that the common agreement should be out for the public later this year or early in 2018.

As part of its engagement with stakeholders, ONC is soliciting public comments on the trusted exchange framework and common agreement provisions in Section 4003 of the Cures Act, including comments specifying considerations, concerns and success stories for the exchange of health data across networks. Comments, which can be submitted online here, will be accepted through August 25.

ONC is specifically soliciting feedback in six areas—standardization, transparency, cooperation and non-discrimination, security and patient safety, access, data-driven choice, as well as a general comments category.

As reported by Healthcare Informatics' Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal, during a briefing with members of the industry press earlier in July, top ONC officials indicated that EHR usability and interoperability have become the central focus for the federal HIT agency.

National Coordinator for Health IT Donald Rucker, M.D., noted during that briefing that two laws that have been passed by Congress—MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) and the 21st Century Cures Act—together “define the ONC mission.” The Cures Act was passed late last year, and Rucker said that the top takeaways from this law are that Congress wants more explicit definitions of interoperability, open APIs (application program interfaces), and that it wants to prohibit information blocking.

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