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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

August 12, 2021

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

You may have heard the rumor that HIMSS is happening in Las Vegas, with some 18,000 people at the live event and more watching the conference from home. Maverick Health Policy sent two interns to HIMSS this year, and we were feeling like that was an iffy thing to do -- sending 20-somethings to Las Vegas, unsupervised, in the middle of a surging pandemic. But then we heard (from the interns) that Gitanjali Rao, a 15-year-old, was also there giving an in-person keynote address. Gitanjali is Time Magazine’s first-ever “Kid of the Year” because she is a wildly gifted inventor and scientist who implored the audience to be mentors to students who are interested in healthcare innovation because “it will make a difference in the world.” Gitanjali also said “Even if it’s one student, you’re already impacting an entire generation of changemakers.” Not only did we send interns to HIMSS, Maverick Health Policy is trying to mentor 8 student-interns per semester because we, too, believe in the power of the next generation. Plus, interns help write newsletters.

More news about the future of innovation:

  1. CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, CMMI Director Liz Fowler and team drafted a helpful Health Affairs blog post that helps tease out the long-term plan for innovative payment models in Medicare and Medicaid that will lead to more value-based care in the future, emphasizing the need for more data and more transparency about the data.

  2. The U.S. General Accounting Office -- an agency that is usually referred to as the “congressional watchdog” because it reports on problems inside the federal government -- has a Center for Strategic Foresight (who knew?) with some seriously impressive non-resident fellows. The guy that runs it, Stephen Sanford, just published a Harvard Business Review article explaining how the Center developed the federal government’s first framework to help federal agencies and others use artificial intelligence responsibly.

  3. Brookings published a kinda-scary article about why hospitals need to invest in cybersecurity measures now despite their understandable pandemic priorities.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

When we think of HIMSS, we can’t help but think of the movie Booksmart, a 2019 laugh-aloud comedy about high school best friends and super-nerds. These academic overachievers decide to have a rare party-hard moment the night before their graduation -- which is a lot like the super-smart-tech-and-policy nerds at HIMSS who let off a little steam in between endless conference sessions about the next big thing in health tech solutions. There is even a scene in the movie where the main characters show up to a party where no one is there -- which may have been a fear for the HIMSS organizers this year. But our movie heroes go to another party where there is plenty of people, and like the real-life HIMSS, they are able to interact with a few people at a mildly well-attended event. We heard that the not-totally-packed part of HIMSS was kind of nice -- more meaningful connections and conversations -- but not with health policy wonks. The federal agency and Capitol Hill types were all virtual, probably because of all the healthcare legislative drama happening (who knew the Senate would still be in DC mid-August?). You can read more about HIMSS here, here, here.

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