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  • Julie Barnes

January 9, 2020

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters in Health Information Policy


  1. Trust may be the #1 new buzz word for 2020 health data policy. At this week’s Digital Health Summit (part of the annual Consumers Electronics Show -- “CES”-- that features next-generation consumer-facing gadgets), a new survey found that people want to use modern health care tools, but only 38% of consumers believe that health tech is safe enough to protect their sensitive health data. Also at CES, the White House announced how it intends to regulate Artificial Intelligence tools.

  2. Which health data-related events you will attend this year? The big ones are Health Datapalooza -- connected to Academy Health’s National Policy Conference -- on February 10-11 in Washington, DC, and HIMSS on March 9-13 in Orlando, Florida. Other opportunities include: ONC Annual Meeting, FDA Public Meeting: Modernizing Data Strategy, SXSW, WEDI spring conference, MedTech, State Healthcare IT Connect Summit, DirectTrust Summit, SHIEC Conference.

  3. This week, AHIP and several health insurance plans (Anthem, Blue Shield of CA, Cambia, CIGNA, Florida Blue, and WellCare) tested the Fast Prior Authorization Technology Highway (“Fast PATH”), to improve the prior authorization process. AHIP is planning on using the results from the testing to advance interoperability and electronic prior authorization.


One Thoughtful Paragraph


In the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review, there is an interesting article about how Kaiser Permanente applied “technology and relatively inexpensive medical staff” to address the chronic needs of high-cost patients directly instead of relying on disease management programs. The article explores three other technology-infused primary care organizations that use similar reimbursement models to Kaiser’s -- ChenMed, ConcertoHealth, and Iora Health -- that also achieved successful financial and health outcomes. Consumer-facing technology seems to be a major key to success; the tools that were an important part of this cost-effective model included wearable devices, self-diagnostic kits, computer-generated voice and text message reminders about screenings, and smartphone monitoring functions. And yet, nothing in the article addressed how physicians or their patients are supposed to navigate the explosion of these new tools. At this week’s CES Digital Health Summit, there were 4,500 exhibitors and 1,200 start-ups touting new technology-based solutions for health (see one list here). Who is supposed to figure out which tools are best? Who has vetted these tools and made sure they will not inadvertently cause harm or leak sensitive health information where it is not supposed to go? The FDA may oversee a narrow set of these tools, but it is not clear whether the new FDA Commissioner will prioritize this area when so many other issues are pressing.

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