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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

March 18, 2021

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters in Health Information Policy

Can you smell that? If you have allergies, maybe not. But change is in the air, along with the pollen. This is some of the latest health information policy news that illustrates how our world is changing:

  1. Privacy Changes Are Coming: HHS extended the public comment period to May 6th for the proposed modifications to the HIPAA privacy rule.

  2. Money Changes Things: Tech-enabled primary care company Forward Health raised $225M to expand its footprint, Cedar raised $200M for its medical billing process modernization play, and Unite Us will better coordinate health care networks with $150M to add to its $1.6B valuation. And 2021 could be the Year of Healthcare SPACs.

  3. Changes to Modernize Public Health: Regenstrief Institute and friends are making strides in improving public health reporting. The CDC has improved its data collection efforts so much that the COVID Tracking Project is coming to an end. And Salesforce just announced that more than 150 government and health care entities are using its “Vaccine Cloud” for vaccine management and COVID-19 tracking.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Now that we can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the national health policy conversation will quickly move to the costly and inequitable American healthcare system. How can we achieve a more value-based, equitable system of healthcare? The University of Pennsylvania’s experts published a new roadmap to value-based payment, explaining how CMS can encourage more alternative payment models that should produce better health outcomes while reducing inefficiencies and disparities. Financial incentives are an important part of the plan, but health systems understand that value-based contracting requires cutting costs and improving population health using next-level health information technology. That’s why 90% of hospital executives reported in a recent survey that they have an automation strategy in place to make operations more efficient -- which just confirms what Modern Healthcare’s 2019 survey of health systems CEOs said pre-pandemic. The elusive goal of value-based care is why fourteen major hospital systems created Truveta, a new company that plans to leverage big data analytics to get better health outcomes and deliver more equitable care. The search for value-based care is why Providence, one of the nation’s largest health systems, created Tegria -- a company designed to create better and more useful data with the latest technology -- which just bought Cumberland, a health IT consulting firm for payers and providers. This focus on technical solutions will build on pandemic-related lessons learned from Mayo’s digital data leader John Halamka, and the big tech-infused COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition he brought together (in addition to his amazing hug-a-goat program). Let the modern healthcare system begin.

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