ONC plans national health information network to begin in 2022

On July 13, 2021, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a timeline for establishing a trusted exchange framework, including a common agreement among health information networks, by 2022. The Sequoia Project was designated as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) through an agreement awarded in August 2019. The timeline calls for the RCE to gather feedback during the remainder of calendar 2021 through webinars and Common Agreement Work Group Sessions, culminating with release of the final Trusted Exchange Framework, Common Agreement Version 1 and Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) Technical Framework Version 1 in the first quarter of 2022. During the remainder of 2022, health information networks can apply to sign on to the Common Agreement.


The ONC explains that TEFCA is intended to establish a floor of universal interoperability across the country, rather than to replace existing health information networks. Existing networks will likely continue providing interoperability beyond the basic foundation established by TEFCA.

USCDI is updated to support electronic exchange of sexual orientation, gender identity and SDOH

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released version 2 of the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) on July 9, 2021. The new USCDI includes three new data classes and 22 new data elements, including data elements for sexual orientation and gender identity and four data elements for social determinants of health (SDOH). ONC discusses the updated standards in the July 2021 issue of ONC Health IT Standards Bulletin. ONC intends that the collection, access, use and reporting of standardized SDOH, sexual orientation and gender identity data can help identify and address differences in health equity. In addition to the SDOH, sexual orientation and gender identity elements, version 2 of USCDI includes new data classes and elements for clinical tests, diagnostic imaging and encounter information. ONC also announced that suggestions for new data classes or elements for the next version of USCDI will be accepted until September 30, 2021.

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ONC launches interoperability outcomes project

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is seeking public feedback on what interoperability outcomes should be prioritized for the 2020 decade. The project is called Health Interoperability Outcomes 2020. ONC intends to publish a prioritized set of interoperability outcomes that align with the 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. ONC invites the public to submit aspirational and achievable health interoperability outcome statements, which will be accepted through July 30, 2021. An example would be a statement such as, "Because of interoperability, faxes are no longer used in clinical care by 2030."

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