August 20, 2020
Maverick Health Policy Update
Only What Matters On Health Information Policy
August in Washington D.C. usually means congressional recess, bragging about where you went to escape the stultifying humidity, and how you barely paid anything to eat at the best restaurants during Restaurant Week. Instead, Speaker Pelosi is bringing the House back to make sure the post office keeps delivering mail-order prescription drugs, absentee ballots, and Crate & Barrel catalogs. And no one can escape or eat without masks and plenty of alcohol -- but not the kind you can drink. Truly, a strange time -- but we should have known that when former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic Convention for only five minutes.
Almost like they are launching in alphabetical order, Zyter and ZeOmega are the latest of a couple of dozen API solution vendors offering to help health plans become the consumer-focused, interoperable data exchange companies they have always secretly wanted to be.
Thank you for not hiding the ball, CARIN Alliance and DaVinci Project, and publishing your Q&A with CMS to clarify tricky interoperability issues. Surely there must be others who are asking questions and getting answers from CMS / ONC as we all begin the sprint toward implementation . . . anyone? Buehler?
More proof that artificial intelligence is not just an idea anymore -- CMS proposed a CPT code for automated AI analysis of retinal images for disease detection in its 2021 physician fee schedule.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
You pack up your kid to go to college and you want to be excited about it but instead you feel like you are dropping them into the middle of a petri dish full of COVID-19. And then you hear about 10 more schools going “all-virtual.” You’re stressed, you’re too-old-to-stay-at-home kids are stressed and depressed, and you can sense that this is not a super-quick fix situation. Luckily, there is an app for that -- actually, there are several. TimelyMD is a startup exclusively for college students virtual medical needs -- including, and lately mostly, mental health services. Daybreak Health is working with Bay area schools to help teens through the pandemic. Another app called “Wysa” is a COVID Anxiety smartphone app designed for 13-year-olds and up (with help from experts at Cincinnati Children’s) that features a AI-powered chat bot that engages in conversations with young users. Investors are offering big bucks to a new startup called Brightline that is attempting to transform virtual behavioral health for kids with a subscription-based model and salaried providers. We all need tools to help us feel less anxious about the pandemic and get a little self-care. We have heard that real life bubble baths and wine help too.