Leaders at the Sequoia Project, a non-profit, 501c3, public-private collaborative chartered to advanced implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange (HIE), announced on Aug. 28 that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has confirmed that the Sequoia Project will continue forward as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) for TEFCA—the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.
A press release posted online on Monday morning began thus: “The Sequoia Project, a leading advocate for health information exchange and health IT interoperability, was chosen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to continue as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) to support the implementation of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). The non-profit was awarded a five-year contract to continue the public-private engagement in support of a nationwide framework for secure health data sharing.”
“The Sequoia Project and our RCE team are extremely proud of TEFCA’s progress to date, and we look forward to bringing its promise and benefits to reality soon. We couldn’t have gotten this far without close collaboration with ONC and the candidate QHINs (Qualified Health Information Networks),” said Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project, in a statement contained in the press release. “We’ve engaged stakeholders throughout the development process to engender public trust and instill a sense of ownership for future QHINs. We look to the coming months and years where this multi-year vision becomes a reality.”
The press release went on to note that, “In 2019, ONC selected The Sequoia Project to be the RCE following a competitive process during which dozens of organizations supported The Sequoia Project’s application for the role. Since then, The Sequoia Project is committed to the core principles of transparency and broad stakeholder engagement while serving as the RCE. During the last four years, the RCE has engaged thousands of people and has hosted more than 70+ public stakeholder engagement events. These interactions are focused on obtaining input on TEFCA processes and work products and providing a means to share updates about TEFCA’s progress.”
Further, it noted, “In 2022, ONC and The Sequoia Project released TEFCA, and later that same year, began accepting applications for the country’s first candidate QHINs. In February 2023, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra recognized the first six candidate QHINs that were approved for onboarding. These candidates expressed intentions to complete testing and onboarding for a planned go-live by the end of the year. There are now seven candidate QHINs in various stages of testing and onboarding.”
And, the press release added that “The Sequoia Project continues to host a recurring RCE public information call on the third Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at noon ET. Where possible, recordings of all calls and other stakeholder event materials are posted to the RCE’s website (rce.sequoiaproject.org). In addition, the RCE will present information at multiple upcoming events, including The Sequoia Project’s annual meeting planned for Nov. 15-17 in San Diego. This event will be hosted jointly with Carequality, a consensus-based non-profit connecting networks under a shared interoperability framework.”