February 14, 2020
Only What Matters in Health Information Policy
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is suggesting that America needs a “Data Protection Agency” -- a new federal agency to oversee consumer privacy, which seems similar to a House proposal to create a United States Digital Privacy Agency. We will be looking carefully at an interesting part of the proposal that reportedly allows the agency to review “privacy innovation and developing best practices.”
The eHealth Initiative (eHI) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) are collaborating on Building a Consumer Privacy Framework for Health Data, designed to address the current gaps in legal protections for health data outside HIPAA’s coverage. eHI also released survey results called The State of Patient Matching In America, finding that most respondents agreed that the federal government should create a nationwide patient matching strategy, expressing “some level of support” for funding toward a National Patient Identifier.
About 1,200 health care tech and policy professionals went to Health Datapalooza this week, and are eagerly anticipating HIMSS in March, but the world’s biggest mobile phone show Mobile World Congress conference was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns (it was supposed to be in Barcelona at the end of February). Traditionally, mHealth apps were a big part of this conference, and work on 21st Century Cures Act 2.0 is reportedly going to focus on these new digital tools, but some think the conference’s focus is shifting away from digital health.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
Now that the impeachment proceedings are over, and the presidential election campaign is well underway, we will be hearing even more often about how health care costs are hurting Americans (read: voters). Congress is already in full swing to address surprise billing, and in the State of the Union address, President Trump touted his health care price transparency executive order (which is in the form of one final rule, facing a long litigation fight, and one proposed rule - see here). There are multiple suggestions on how to address our nation’s uniquely high health care costs, but it is always surprising how little time is spent on how technology solutions can help (see interesting retrospective by Fred Bazzoli, Editor-in-Chief of Health Data Management here). Some organizations are trying to help: the Alliance for Community Health Plans offered its price transparency certification for digital tools idea this week. The FCC thinks that its $100M investment in telemedicine and remote patient monitoring will help save $3.30 for every $1 spent. Investors seem to get it: Flywire acquired healthcare technology startup Simpleeto help consumers settle their medical bills faster, and see other recent moves / ideas here, here and here. Unlike this Administration’s plan for health care interoperability, there is little to learn about leading Democratic presidential candidates’ thoughts about the promise of improving the use of health information and health care technology (see health care plans of Mayor Pete, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Former Vice President Joe Biden). And then there is Mayor Bloomberg, who is given credit for building up the tech sector of NYC. But can Mayor Bloomberg win? See here, here, here, here.