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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

January 27, 2023

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

First world problem: The biggest crisis for Congress this week was how to slip a Taylor Swift lyric into the hearing where they grilled Ticketmaster executives. You may recall that Taylor Swift fans (millions of them) were a little upset when they waited for several hours -- unsuccessfully -- to buy pre-sale tickets for Taylor's The Eras Tour of her new album Midnights. On November 15, 2022, the day of the presale, the Ticketmaster site crashed because it was overwhelmed and maybe also suffered a cyberattack. The fiasco was a great excuse for the Senate to fill some downtime this week by borrowing some of Taylor’s greatest lines. (Senator Mike Lee: “Ticket transfers are a ‘nightmare dressed like a daydream.’”) We cannot recommend watching it, but the hearing video is here. So, sure, we’ll play -- in both the news highlights and the One Thoughtful Paragraph.

Allow us to present this week’s health information policy news highlights and the Taylor Swift lyrics that go with them:

  • Taylor’s lyric: "I'm still a believer but I don't know why / I've never been a natural / All I do is try, try, try.” from Mirrorball

  • The Regenstrief Institute still believes that -- if it just keeps trying -- it can match the right patients to the right medical records. This week, it launched its patient-matching framework, which is designed to standardize patient-matching tools to ensure the appropriate integration of patient data. More here.

  • Taylor’s lyric: "You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath" from – All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

  • Too many secrets were kept during the pandemic, so the CDC announced plans to establish an Office for Public Health Data, Surveillance and Technology to better monitor public health issues.

  • Taylor’s lyric: “Time won't fly, it's like I'm paralyzed by it / I'd like to be my old self again, but I'm still trying to find it” from All Too Well

  • Some providers -- who, like Taylor, are cognizant of their valuable time -- are charging for e-visits when corresponding with patients via patient portals, according to a New York Times article and a JAMA study.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

For health policy wonks, Health Affairs is as popular as Taylor Swift. That’s why we are pretty excited to see the launch of their new blog post series on provider prices in the commercial sector. In one of the first articles, MedPAC Chair and Harvard Medical School professor Michael Chernew wrote that one of the Seven Burning Questions about health care prices is “How Should We Price New Digital Services?” What an excellent question. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are experiencing an explosion of new digital tools and services in health care. Dr. Chernew recognizes this modernize-the-health-system revolution, and yet, explains in this blog post that no one really knows how to slap a price tag on them. He ponders whether bundling digital tools into broader service offerings makes sense, but teases that it would not be a good use of strained financial resources to offer digital tools that will unnecessarily add to traditional services. Seems like a shame to ignore these convenient healthcare tools (that can help take care of people beyond the walls and hours of a doctor’s office) for lack of an innovative way to pay for them. We don’t want to someday say -- like Taylor did, putting her spin on a Robert Frost poem -- “The road not taken looks real good now.

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