July 9, 2021
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
So, here is what we know: The Tomorrow War, a new Prime Video movie with the very-good-looking Chris Pratt, the talented J.K. Simmons, and the underrated Yvonne Strahovski (who kept the tv sitcom “Chuck” running for 5 seasons), is a terrible film. Really, just a horrible waste of good actors. Here is what we do NOT know: Why the U.S. Departments of HHS, Treasury and Labor decided to issue rules to implement the No Surprises Act without offering much of anything beyond what the Act itself had already mandated. Why is there no guidance about arbitration? Or the price transparency parts of the bill? Or provider directory updates? Or advanced explanation of benefits?
Back to the things we DO know:
Investors LOVE digital health -- read this Rock Health report if you need evidence, with its eye-popping numbers (e.g., 48 megadeals and $14.7B spent in 2021 already). Important to note that the digital mental health market is booming too, according to Forbes.
One investment got a lot of love recently -- Olive, which automates processes for the health care industry with artificial intelligence solutions, raised $400M in its latest funding round, making it a $4B company. In addition to serving several-hundred customers and acquiring other companies, Olive is collaborating with the Innovation Lab’s six non-profit hospital investors to help with clinician and office staff problems (e.g., checking claims status and streamlining prior authorization). And Olive is the platform that will drive solutions for a new Medicaid managed care company, Circulo -- so, a lot going on there.
With all the new digital solutions to buy, it is a good thing CIO budgets are growing -- according to a Forrester Report.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
Even if The Tomorrow War movie was too dumb to be scary, tomorrow we will continue to be in a real-life, scary war -- a cyberwar. Just before the July 4th holiday, a Russian-language hacking group took credit for the largest ransomware attack to date, demanding $70M to unlock the files of some 1,500 U.S. businesses. The Biden Administration is getting pressure -- from the Wall Street Journal editorial board and others -- to respond. And while this doesn’t seem to be directed toward the healthcare industry, these cyberattacks are a constant concern -- it wasn't long ago when Russian-speaking cybercriminals attacked six U.S. hospitals in one day. In 2020, at least 92 U.S. healthcare organizations suffered ransomware attacks. There is no lack of activity in this area -- President Biden issued an executive order to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released a study finding that Medicare lacked sufficient oversight of cybersecurity issues -- so now CMS is considering new medical device cybersecurity requirements for hospitals that participate in Medicare, and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a ransomware risk management framework to help organizations mitigate cybersecurity risks. One success story in our scary cyberwar is found here, courtesy of a task force within the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that protected the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain from cyber threats. Maybe Chris Pratt should consider doing a movie about that -- we may need a whole generation of kids that want to be movie-star-famous CISA agents.