EHNAC's Executive Director Provides Comment on ONC Draft of Trusted Exchange Framework

January 11, 2018

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), issued its draft Trusted Exchange Framework as well as a public comment period through February 18, 2018. Lee Barrett, executive director of the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), and member of the HHS Cybersecurity Task Force and the Healthcare Sector Coordinating Council Cybersecurity Working Group, shared his perspectives on the Trusted Exchange Framework and its implications on healthcare: 
 
"Through last week's submission to the public register, the ONC continues to support the healthcare industry's need to strengthen stakeholder trust and assure interoperability across the trust networks. This includes identification and promotion of existing technologies that already provides a robust foundational infrastructure. EHNAC applauds these efforts and offers its leadership and support.
 
"As Dr. Rucker noted in this announcement, the industry has a number of initiatives already in place to develop and enhance trust agreements and common exchange networks - federal support of these efforts is crucial. This includes DirectTrust and the Direct protocol, blockchain, (Empowering People with Privacy and Personalization) EP3 Foundation, Sequoia Project, Carequality and many other industry organizations. 
 
"Healthcare stakeholders are leveraging de facto technology and standards. Now is the time for us to work together to identify areas for improvement, close privacy and security gaps across networks, address vulnerabilities across HIPAA compliance, cyber protection and ransomware prevention, address authentication issues, and assure the highest levels of stakeholder trust."
 
The Trusted Exchange Framework is an initiative to facilitate interoperability in health IT, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, and "advances Congress' intent that building and maintaining trust is an important core element in ensuring that health information is available where and when it is needed to manage patient health and care".
 
The period to comment on the draft Trusted Exchange Framework closes on February 18, 2018. Comments can be submitted at exchangeframework@hhs.gov.
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