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  • Julie Barnes

May 13, 2021

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters in Health Information Policy


This is genius-geek superstar week, with Elon Musk headlining Saturday Night Live, Eric Schmidt featured at STAT’s Health Tech Summit, and Jacob Collier talking about how technology powers his music at the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival. If you are unfamiliar with Jacob Collier -- maybe it is time to get out more? Beyond the requisite multi-Grammy awards, viral videos, and finding musical keys that don’t exist (yet), this is one small factoid about Jacob: a few years ago, when he was 20 big years old, he signed with the Quincy Jones management company and began working on his one-man, audio-visual live performance art, designed and built at the MIT Media Lab by Ben Bloomberg (another tech genius). If you want to feel better about the future, or worse about your own non-prodigy children, read more here.


Some decidedly non-musical news about health information policy:

  • On May 13, 2021, the HHS Office of National Coordinator (ONC) Health IT Advisory Committee held its first all-day meeting on public health data infrastructure, with Tom Frieden offering this fun missive: “Blaming CDC for failing to implement effective Covid control in 2020 is like blaming someone who was encased in cement for failing to swim.” If you want to attend these meetings but can’t devote a whole day to that sort of thing, follow @amalec on Twitter.

  • ONC also just launched a new project called Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030 and is asking for input. Go to healthIT.gov/HealthInterop2030 by July 30, 2021, to submit your great thoughts on what interoperability outcomes we can realistically achieve in the next 8+ years.

  • And ONC remains serious about preventing health information blocking (when someone interferes with, prevents, or materially discourage access, exchange or use of electronic health information), basically calling out E.H.R. companies for causing most of the trouble.


One Thoughtful Paragraph

What does Henry Kissinger (the 97-year-old former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President Nixon and President Ford) know about artificial intelligence? Enough to co-author a book called “The Age of AI” with Eric Schmidt, the onetime Google CEO and co-founder of Schmidt Futures, and Daniel Huttenlocher, the dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. This powerful team gave a preview of the book in an article published in The Atlantic in 2019, saying they met for three years trying to figure out how AI will impact humanity -- and healthcare seems to be a major focus. AI is already being used / explored in the healthcare space, and this team of brainiacs suggest that we should create a new field called "AI ethics" to add thoughtfulness to the excitement -- but it seems like that is already happening too. Google announced it plans to double the size of its team studying AI ethics after a controversy over firing two researchers, and Apple announced it hired one of the AI experts that just left Google AI. Companies including IBM and Microsoft have already taken steps to incorporate AI ethics into their plans -- Microsoft has a mandatory “Intro to Responsible AI” course for its employees, and IBM has an internal ethics board. For its part, the Brookings Institution just analyzed the AI plans of 34 countries, using ethics as one of the evaluating measures. The world's largest technical professional organization, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (members are mostly engineers and scientists), created a five-course program called AI Standards: Roadmap for Ethical and Responsible Digital Environments. So... what federal government agency oversees AI and all of these ethical considerations? Well, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is working on it, and just launched a new website to make the federal government activities related to the “responsible use of trustworthy artificial intelligence” more transparent to everyone. Which is interesting, because the former administration also launched the same website in March 2019. Stick around, maybe by the time we are Henry Kissinger’s age, we will have a handle on this.

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