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  • Julie Barnes

December 16, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters in Health Information Policy

James Cameron, a Canadian filmmaker, has got a thing for water. His latest waterlogged creation will be opening in American theaters today: Avatar: The Way of the Water. This follows his other underwater projects, like that little film about the Titanic and multiple documentaries about sea exploration. To make these movies realistic, and to film the deep sea locations for the documentaries, Mr. Cameron insisted on using -- or waiting for the development of -- the most advanced technology. That’s exactly what some industry stakeholders are telling CMS is necessary before they launch one of their creations, as we explain in the One Thoughtful Paragraph.

Other news about advanced health care technology this week:

  • We are raising an eyebrow about the ONC’s latest blog post, but not because the team at ONC is saying that there is a disturbing lack of guidance about machine-learning technology in health care. We find it interesting that they weaved in film references to their blog post title: Back to the Future: What Predictive Decision Support Can Learn from DeLoreans and The Big Short. Wherever did they get the idea to put together iconic movies with health IT issues? Hmmmm.

  • The Coalition for Health AI (members include universities like Duke and Johns Hopkins, companies like Google and Microsoft, organizations like MITRE) published a 23-page “Blueprint for Trustworthy AI Implementation Guidance”. The coalition admitted that it is trying to create FoMO as it grows its “coalition of the willing” to create a code of conduct for AI -- even teasing that the National Academy of Medicine might get involved.

  • The standards development organization, HL7, is urging the HHS National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, which makes recommendations to the Secretary on data standards, to include Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) as a recommended data standard for electronic clinical attachments. What does that mean? It means that HL7 -- which has been working hard on a guide to help the industry implement FHIR -- thinks that the FHIR data standard will make it easier for health plans to get proof of a patient’s need for recommended treatment from electronic health record systems so they can make prior authorization decisions faster.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

National Geographic is proud of its Explorer-in-Residence, calling James Cameron “an intrepid explorer, inventor and avid creator of cutting-edge technology.” He also makes Oscar-winning films sometimes. For the Avatar sequel being shown in theaters today, Mr. Cameron was so determined to make the underwater action realistic-looking, that he waited 13 years for the necessary next-level technology. The American Hospital Association (AHA) is asking CMS to have James-Cameron-like patience. In a letter to CMS, the AHA applauds the agency for its idea to create a national healthcare provider directory (“NDH”) that would help patients find information about doctors and improve the industry’s ability to exchange and report on health data. But the AHA is insisting that the necessary technology is “far from ready” and encourages CMS to “refrain from moving forward” with the NDH. Maybe the real lesson of the new Avatar movie is this: James Cameron called upon his Titanic star Kate Winslet, to play a leading role -- for which she had to learn how to hold her breath for 7 minutes for the underwater filming. How long should we wait -- holding our breath -- for the health system technology we need?

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