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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

November 4, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

[Before we begin... please send us a note if you will be attending HLTH! We're going!]

Agatha Christie novels are the best-selling stories of all time, bested only by the Bible and Shakespeare. If you are unfamiliar, she was a prolific and ingenious British author who wrote 66 murder mysteries that are set in some charming, orderly setting with a diverse set of characters that share a (usually dark) past history. In a whirlwind of imaginative storytelling, an assassination plot is revealed that requires multiple, and sometimes unwitting, accomplices. Several of her detective novels were turned into films with a talented assemble cast, but -- interestingly -- those haven’t sold as well as her books. The latest is the 2022 release of Death on the Nile, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as our hero, Hercule Poirot -- Agatha Christie’s Sherlock Holmes-type character who solves these complex crime mysteries after only a few interviews and a remarkable lack of information. We explain how creating quality measures for social determinants of health (SDOH) is also a mystery to be solved in the One Thoughtful Paragraph below.

Other mysteries to be solved in this week’s health information policy news:

  • How to capture data in the event of another pandemic: the ONC and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are asking health IT companies for assistance to solve this mystery.

  • How to build an inclusive data collection that relies on smartphone apps: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $1.7 million grant to a research team from the University of Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and George Mason, to develop these equitable machine-learning models so that medical screening can more accurately reflect our diverse population.

  • How to improve data exchange between hospitals and doctors: Two organizations that dominate health care data standards -- SNOMED and the Regenstrief Institute (the latter created LOINC standards) -- are broadening their existing partnership to facilitate better data sharing and interoperability by standardizing medical data terminology across health systems.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Despite the box office failure of Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branagh reportedly began filming another Agatha Christie novel last week called A Haunting in Venice. We expect this one to do better just because Tina Fey will be in it. While we wait, we are taking note of the ensemble cast involved in trying to solve the social of determinants of health data mystery. Just this week, we attended the NCQA Innovation Summit where two NCQA researchers described the Social Needs Screening and Intervention measure for health plans. It turns out that it is pretty difficult to not only ask questions about someone’s terrible life circumstances that is directly impacting their health, but it is even harder to intervene and then track the intervention to make sure things went well. We were also impressed with NCQA’s new Social Connection Screening and Intervention (SCS-E) measure (read: deal with the loneliness and isolation problems that are so overwhelming everyone). And the team at ONC is on top of this too -- they are partnering with several stakeholders to launch an interoperability pilot based on HL7’s Gravity Project. And, this week, MedPAC addressed SDOH quality measures in its public meeting. So, with all of these characters involved, who will play the hero for SDOH? In an interesting twist, actress Jennifer Saunders, who was believable in her character role in a Death on the Nile -- sang “Holding Out For A Hero” when she played the Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2. Maybe we need a fairy godmother for SDOH?

Did you know that we archive all of the Maverick Updates on our website?

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