June 11, 2021
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
Remember the movie / true story about Hidalgo, the American-born horse (a beautiful paint mustang) that competes in a 3,000-mile horse race known as the “Ocean of Fire” across the Arabian Peninsula (a massive and unforgiving desert) against pure-blooded Arabian horses and wins? It was a long shot... except the American spirit is never a long shot... even if the odds are against us. That’s what the United States Innovation and Competition Act feels like -- the recognition that we are up against Arabian horses (China) and we’re sending our best little mustang in to go win the race ($250B to fund American ingenuity and manufacturing of advanced technology). Now it is up to the House to pass the Senate’s bill so we can lead the world -- not follow -- in emerging tech like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, computer chips, robotics, and more.
Other breathless news this week:
Apple is making such big moves in the health app space that Fast Company is saying that Apple will be positioned to compete Epic -- the medical records giant. As part of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced new Apple Health app features that will help users easily share their health tests or records with doctors or family caregivers. Another new feature is called “Corrie” that was developed by doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, to give patients who suffered a heart attack easy-to-follow daily instructions post-discharge.
A new healthcare tech company is launching -- Chicago-based Avaneer Health -- which will be run by Stuart Hanson, a JP Morgan health industry leader and former Change Healthcare executive. Avaneer started as the Health Utility Network, when a number of business-investors (Aetna, Anthem, Cleveland Clinic, HCSC, IBM, PNC Bank, Sentara) decided large networks of members could quickly and safely exchange sensitive healthcare data using blockchain technology.
Axios explains how the lack of a federal consumer data privacy law will force Congress to use Europe’s General Data Protection Law (GDPR) and California Privacy Rights Act as the model because companies have already dumped so much money into complying with those laws. Regulatory uncertainty brings market solutions -- read an article here and report here about the exploding privacy tech market.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
There is a generation that will always see the actor Ted Danson as the bartender in Cheers, but many generations now see him as the architect of “the Good Place” -- a heaven-like afterlife location with an artificial intelligence guide named Janet. This award-winning sitcom (watch reruns here or on Netflix) follows the story of four humans who are trying to avoid "the Bad Place" by repeatedly improving upon their moral character through a series of innovations led by Ted Danson but whether they accomplished the goal is ultimately decided by a court (the judge is former SNL cast member Maya Rudolph, obviously). With all of the attempts to get the good and important data out of health information systems, America seems to be in the beginning of its own Good Place sitcom series. It is unclear who will emerge as the architect-Ted Danson character, but we do have smart people like Deven McGraw, chief regulatory officer at the health records startup Ciitizen, who was featured in a thoughtful interview with NPR about the pros and cons of non-healthcare technology companies mining health care records. With the overwhelming number of humans in our real-life sitcom trying to mine data so we can transform our health care system into the Good Place -- we may need more than one architect. There are big plans for big data analytics, like Graphite Health, Truveta, Google’s deal with HCA, and more narrow-scope ideas like Mayo Clinic’s research deal with Pro Medicus subsidiary Visage Imaging and UPMC’s Realyze Intelligence. One of the more eye-popping moves in this space is Datavant’s acquisition of clinical data network Ciox Health in a deal worth $7 billion that will “enable providers to connect patient medical records with other data sources to improve patient outcomes, advance the development of new drugs and treatments and contribute to population health studies.” Right -- so -- it is unclear how we are going to get to the Good Place from here, but we need to come up with a plan so Maya Rudolph doesn't send us to the Bad Place.