The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology today released for comment a draft trusted exchange framework for sharing health information across networks, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. The proposed framework would establish policies, procedures and technical standards for trusted exchange between health information networks. Under the proposal, ONC would recognize a private sector coordinating entity to incorporate the framework into a common agreement to which qualified HINs and their participants voluntarily agree to adhere. Qualified HINs would have to upgrade their technology to support an expanded core data set for interoperability, require participants and end users to provide proof of identity, and could charge reasonable allowable costs to other qualified HINs. According to ONC, the framework would enable health systems and outpatient providers to join one network and have access to data on the patients they serve regardless of where the patient went for care, and enable them to eliminate one-off and point-to-point interfaces, among other benefits. Comments on the draft framework may be emailed to exchangeframework@hhs.gov through Feb. 18. “Today’s release by ONC is a promising step in creating a more efficient infrastructure for sharing health information that is based on a network-of-networks approach and builds on existing efforts,” said Ashley Thompson, AHA senior vice president for public policy analysis and development. “The creation of a nationwide approach to efficient and effective sharing of health information is central to the efforts of hospitals and health systems to provide high-quality coordinated care, support new models of care and engage patients in their health.”

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