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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

May 14, 2020

Maverick’s Update

Only What Matters on Health Information Policy

There is more bad news than good news, it seems, in the COVID-19 era. That’s why John Krasinski (Emily Blunt’s husband) felt compelled to invent Some Good News. Maverick Health Policy looked for some good news too.

  1. Change Healthcare is giving APIs to health plans for free to help them with the CMS interoperability rules. Google launched Cloud Healthcare API to help health systems. Health IT vendor Innovaccer is helping too, with its new FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform. There are too many to name, but Apple, Commure, Ciitizen, and Particle are great examples of companies trying to make it easier for people to access their own health data.

  2. CEOs are reportedly optimistic about the new health care interoperability rules, including the Forbes Technology Council. Some organizations have always been cheerleaders for the rules, and some have more recently come around.

  3. The pandemic generated modern, health care innovations to solve some of our biggest problems. See here, here, here, here, here.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Even if we have amazing technology to address the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are unlikely to use it. (Except this Grandma, who encourages her retirement community to “not be intimidated by technology.”) A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they are either unable or unwilling to use the infection-alert system under development by Google and Apple. A couple of MIT business school professors wrote a compelling paper about how low income and lack of high speed technology access explain why people can’t or won’t obey stay-at-home orders. And there is serious nervousness about privacy, including among members of the U.S. Senate (one of whom said very recently “we need to get the government out of our phones.”) Maybe that is why former federal health officials, doctors, and other experts are suggesting that the federal government create a manual (meaning analog) contact-tracing program. Indeed, state public health officials are hiring armies of people to do their contact tracing work. Still, two former federal health officials offered their take on how technology companies can help. And companies (like Health Catalyst) are trying hard to support health care providers with software solutions designed specifically for COVID-19 issues. We may dream of predicting and preventing pandemics in a technology-infused medical utopia, but we have a long way to go.

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