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  • Julie Barnes

August 12, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters in Health Information Policy

We are disappointed in the lack of good movies available right now. Don’t even get us started on Thor: Love and Thunder (though we appreciate Natalie Portman’s resurrection as Jane Foster, astrophysicist-turned-demi-god-who-works-out-a-lot is a good role for her). In the One Thoughtful Paragraph below, we explain how the lack of new movie availability is probably a good thing because we have some work-related reading to do.

Other news that made us realize we have a lot of reading to catch up on:

  • The American Hospital Association published a report to accompany its annual leadership meeting and Chapter 3 is all about how leveraging clinical information and creating data-related partnerships is really important for the future success of hospitals.

  • The HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health IT released two blog posts: one about how ONC’s ProjectUS@ is making sure that all communities are represented in their patient matching project and another that explains its future role in coordinating and establishing greater consistency with health-IT-related activities across all HHS agencies.

  • Two articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association that we plan to read: one is a JAMA Network Open study about how algorithms used to read text from death certificates significantly accelerated data collection of overdose deaths, potentially improving existing public health responses; another is a JAMA Internal Medicine study finding that remote patient monitoring among Medicare patients increased 555% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Instead of watching the pretty dumb and bad special effects in Thor: Love and Thunder, we were reminded recently of a scene in the Marvel Avengers movie with Thor’s half-brother Loki, the God of Mischief. Played by Tom Hiddleston -- an amazing actor who seems to be the only boyfriend Taylor Swift didn’t write a song about after their breakup -- Loki viciously removes the eyeball of a German scientist who has a rare element hidden behind a retina-scan-locked vault that can stabilize wormholes. A retinal scan, of course, is a biometric technique that scans an eyeball so that a computer can recognize your unique retinal features, which may be used as a form of identification. Normally, eyeball removal for retinal scan purposes doesn’t come up too often in health data-related policy work, but the Federal Trade Commission just released a 44-page advance notice of proposed rulemaking about consumer data privacy practices and it made us think about the eyeball scene. Specifically, the Commission is inviting comment on whether it should implement new rules about how companies collect, retain, share, and maybe sell consumer data. An entire subset of questions is about how companies collect and use consumers’ biometric data -- fingerprints and facial recognition are mentioned -- but leaves retinal scans up to the commenters to discuss. We strongly suspect there are no Gods of Mischief keeping consumer eyeballs in violation of any privacy rules, but we expect the FTC to get to the bottom of it.

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