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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

July 10, 2020

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters on Health Information Policy

The ridiculously hot weather in Washington, DC is not helping everyone's mood. Refreshing cocktail ideas here.

  1. A new Rock Health mid-year report found that the digital health companies raised a record $5.4 billion in venture funding in the last six months, in part due to easing of regulatory barriers related to the PHE.

  2. CMS Administrator Seema Verma emphasized the need for greater interoperability and importance of telehealth at a recent Fortune conference. A group of senators wrote to her asking exactly what telehealth changes she intends to make permanent, and it seems like we will get more information about that in the proposed 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule later this month.

  3. Stat+ (behind a subscription-only firewall) is reporting that a new online tool from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is trying to help patients choose a mental health app that works for them -- just in time for the mental health fallout from the pandemic.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Why do we need yet another lobbying campaign to prove that we must have an iron-clad way of matching the right medical records to the right patients? One of the more mind-boggling problems the American health care system suffers from is an inability to connect disparate patient records across different medical providers or facilities. This is one thing, as we are on the cusp of releasing so many more electronic records when the interoperability rules are live, that you would think we could just agree on. Instead, “Patient ID Now” will try to convince Congress -- again -- that we need to prevent any more unnecessary medical errors from looking at the wrong patient’s data. Maverick Health Policy appreciates the dogged determination of the founding members of Patient ID Now, including Intermountain Healthcare, the American College of Surgeons, AHIMA, CHIME, HIMSS, and Premier Healthcare Alliance. But after multiple reports showing the incredible number of problems caused by mismatched patient records, including repeat tests and delays in care and deaths, and after multiple attempts over multiple years by ONC (they launched a “Patient Matching Initiative” in 2013, a “Patient Matching and Linking project” in 2015, held a contest called the Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge in 2017) to address this critical patient safety issue, it remains unaddressed. This is an article from 2015 explaining what would help, and this is an article that explains how not even dangling $1 million to innovators and two years’ worth of work could lead to a solution. Is patient matching a challenge? Yes, even the GAO says so. But we have got to just get this done.

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