November 19, 2020
Only What Matters On Health Information Policy
Maverick Health Policy wishes everyone a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving, and we promise not to interrupt your overeating with an update. See you back here on December 3rd -- which happens to be the 17th anniversary of a report that England’s National Health Service would spend $17 billion to install interoperable electronic health records (see Wall Street Journal article, dated Dec. 3, 2003).
Digital Access Matters. Speaking of England getting a head start on us, a report commissioned by the National Health Service found that having digital access -- that is, being able to afford internet access and having digital skills -- has become a social determinant of health. To prevent barriers to care, they are considering creating “digital health hubs” to offer solutions to those who need it.
Interoperability Struggles. The eHI Initiative released a survey showing that providers and payers are struggling to meet the compliance deadlines of the ONC information blocking and CMS interoperability final rules while they are addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID Alerts Exist. A reminder that millions of Americans (in 15 states and D.C.) have the ability to get alerts on their smart phones from local health authorities if they were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
The FDA has authorized the first at-home COVID-19 test, developed by Lucira Health, a promising development in the fight to contain the spread of the virus. It is a molecular test, which is considered to offer highly accurate results. It is the first test that can be fully self-administered and offer people rapid results at home, so it can reduce testing delays. It is available by prescription and is relatively cheap at $50. But then what? COVID-19 lab test results are helpful only if we share the data so public health authorities can take necessary action. According to the parameters of Lucira’s Emergency Use Authorization, it must develop a mobile phone app or website (by March 2021) to facilitate results reporting by both the provider and the individual using the product. So that’s interesting, but who will the test result be reported to? With the pandemic accelerating an already-growing at-home lab testing market, the tracking of self-reported data is going to be tricky. Unlike dear old England, we do not have one big interoperable electronic health record system.