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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

May 26, 2022

Updated: May 27, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

As we prepare to celebrate our third year at Maverick Health Policy, we are often asked if the name Maverick was inspired by Tom Cruise’s character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 movie Top Gun. The answer is no, but we may change our answer now that there is a new Top Gun movie -- not just because it is getting rave reviews, but because we really like how the new movie features Val Kilmer. In this latest film, a new set of recruits learns how to operate in a dangerous world, and we can relate to that in the One Thoughtful Paragraph below.

The new Top Gun movie isn’t the only thing launching this week:

  • In collaboration with Arnold Ventures, The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) developed a new hospital cost tool that analyzes national information to provide the critical “commercial breakeven” point, or the price a private insurance plan would need to pay for hospitals to cover their expenses, so it may be compared to the actual prices hospitals are charging plans and patients.

  • HHS announced the formal establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which will operate as part of the National Institutes of Health. It is designed to advance biomedical research by using new technology, data resources, and disease models.

  • A new coalition called the Digital Health for Equitable Health Alliance is going to try to reduce health care disparities by advocating for policies that increase access to digital health tools. That’s good news, because last week we heard at HRSA’s National Telehealth Conference about a recent study that found that a lack of internet access is a major social determinant of health.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

In the new Top Gun film, Tom Cruise -- as Navy fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell -- is training a new set of young ace pilots for a top-secret mission. He tells them “don’t think, just do” -- because reflexes and reaction time are more important than thinking about consequences when you’re flying at high speeds. This is not the sort of advice we will be expecting from the new White House National Artificial Intelligence Office. Indeed, we noticed that there is a 72-page report that speaks to the careful planning and mitigation of any consequences to our increased use of and exposure to innovative “smart” technology. Even though the new AI office doesn't seem to have health care as part of its scope of work, many stakeholders (e.g., AdvaMed, the AMA, the Connected Health Initiative, the Consumer Technology Association, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, the Healthcare Leadership Council, and HIMSS), are asking that any new rules and ethics governing artificial intelligence be applied to health care applications too. But -- speaking of teaching young recruits -- do we have the technical workforce available to help the government with these efforts? Maybe the next Tom Cruise movie -- now that he’s of a certain age and physical stunts won’t be as possible -- will cast him as the role of the artificial intelligence professor. Or maybe it is a Matthew McConaughey role -- because a University of Texas at Austin professor is actually advising the new AI office. Either way, we hope the new movie involves the critical role of beach volleyball.

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