July 15, 2021
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
On this day 222 years ago, the Rosetta Stone was discovered -- cracking the code on how to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics. We have come so far with our coding and translation ability, that President Biden released a sweeping executive order that is designed (in part) to be a check on the market power of technology companies. More on that in the One Thoughtful Paragraph below.
Health information policy news to translate this week:
ONC announced the timeline and process to achieve a successful launch of the TEFCA framework, with the goal of having the new network open for participation in a nationwide exchange of health information in the first quarter of 2022.
Colorado is the third state to adopt a new consumer privacy law. Like California and Virginia, the new law creates new consumer data privacy rights and protections, including sensitive health data, requiring businesses to be transparent and provide reasons for using an individual’s information. Unlike California and Virginia, consumers can opt out of the sale, collection and use of personal data in certain circumstances. And while HIPAA entities are exempt from the new Colorado law, it is employment security for privacy lawyers everywhere who have to help multistate businesses figure out who can do what with health data that is beyond the bounds of HIPAA.
ONC released an updated data standard -- the U.S. Core Data Interoperability Version 2 (USCDI v2) -- encouraging health IT developers to include new data classes that will help collect and exchange information about social issues that affect health outcomes (e.g., education, sexual orientation, access to transportation).
One Thoughtful Paragraph
President Biden’s far-reaching 16-page Executive Order released on July 9th is not just about reining in the market power of Big Tech and the healthcare industry, but we are noticing that it empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair to boldly make changes in how these sectors operate. And who is the FTC Chair again? Professor Lina Kahn, the reform-minded professor who is so compelling as an antitrust warrior that both Amazon and Facebook want her recused from any investigations involving them. She kind of reminds us of the Marvel character Black Widow, not so much because she seems like a reformed KGB spy / trained assassin, but because she is a strong, unflappable woman who is capable of doing things that regular people wouldn’t dare. (Fun fact: The new Black Widow movie is out, a story co-written by Jac Schaeffer, another strong woman who happens to be the daughter of Leonard Schaeffer, a longtime titan of healthcare industry and policy leadership.) So Professor Kahn seems poised, with her version of The Avengers on the White House Competition Council, to reconsider the horizontal and vertical merger guidelines that could contain consolidation in the healthcare and technology markets, limit the use of non-compete clauses that may unfairly limit worker mobility, and issue regulations that address data collection that may damage consumer privacy. We are very curious who will play the role of Thor: God of Thunder on Professor Kahn’s Avengers team, but for now, we will watch Chris Hemsworth’s new National Geographic special SharkFest 2021 -- you know, just in case it relates to health information policy. You can never be too careful.