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  • Julie Barnes

November 10, 2021

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy


Is there any super-intense character that Benedict Cumberbatch can’t play? He manages to be completely believable playing real-life famous people in movies, like genius-physicist Stephen Hawking and computer scientist Alan Turing and legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. He also plays fictional Dr. Stephen Strange (a narcissistic and sarcastic surgeon-turned-wizard) with a great deal of integrity, despite Disney’s Marvel-blockbuster purposes. And now he is fighting for our attention between a famous-whimsical-cat-drawing-artist (odd but true: check out The Electrical Life of Louis Wain on Amazon Prime) and a masochistic John Wayne-type in Netflix’s The Power of the Dog. The ability to be awesome in a super-intense role may be an important trait for another person, who we introduce you to in the One Thoughtful Paragraph below.


No acting or intense scientific methods were used to gather our weekly news snapshot:


  1. Dr. Don Rucker, former leader of the HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (“ONC”), is the new Chief Strategy Officer of 1upHealth, a healthcare interoperability company that launched in 2017 to help payers and providers convert their data to the HL7 FHIR standard (part of a growing interoperability health solutions market that Dr. Rucker helped create with new federal regulations).

  2. Despite Dr. Rucker’s best efforts, multiple articles published this week in 2021 (here, here, here, here) make it clear that healthcare data is still being exchanged via fax (for our readers who are younger than 30 years old, a fax machine is an antiquated communication device that looks like a small printer. They used to be dope.)

  3. Save the Date: The ONC annual meeting is February 2-3, 2022. Probably not the same crowd, but just in case you’re concerned about timing: The Superbowl is currently scheduled for February 13, 2022, so learning more about how health information technology is modernizing our system will not interfere with your game-watching or Snoop Dogg’s performance at halftime.


One Thoughtful Paragraph


Given his capable portrayal of super-nerds, Benedict Cumberbatch may be asked to play a data scientist someday (likely a documentary: Burning Out: A Day in the Life of a Data Scientist). To prepare, we suggest that he study the real-life version: Denice Ross, the new U.S. Chief Data Scientist. President Biden has healthcare-related goals for Ms. Ross and her 70 colleagues at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, including figuring out how to use and share health data to build a more effective healthcare system. (He didn’t say “get rid of the fax machines” but seems implied.) We haven’t seen a job description, but the position was explained by the only other U.S. Chief Data Scientist ever (who is a huge fan of Denice Ross, the same guy who coined the term “data scientist” and went on to lead the tech part of the tech-based health insurance startup Devoted Health). DJ Patil said: “My role as the U.S. CDS will be to responsibly source, process, and leverage data in a timely fashion to enable transparency, provide security, and foster innovation, in order to maximize the return on the investment in data.” Translation: Ms. Ross is supposed to use the federal government’s vast resources to make data useful. That may be too much to ask of anyone, even Benedict Cumberbatch.

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