• Julie Barnes

October 15, 2020

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters On Health Information Policy

Maverick Health Policy congratulates Lisa Bari on being named interim CEO of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) that represents 81 HIE organizations and their strategic business and technology partners during a seriously transformative time for health information exchange.

  1. This is not just for White House staff: The latest app that can prove you’re virus-free is IBM’s Digital Health Pass, for individuals who “may need to present their health status to return to public places.”

  2. People are getting serious about sharing data to help understand and respond to the pandemic (see One Thoughtful Paragraph below) but some are so serious that they are already planning on how to better handle the next global health crisis. The Trinity Challenge (a global coalition of big tech, universities, other international heavyweights) will offer monetary awards for ideas and apps that use data and advanced analytics to improve our ability to identify and respond to infectious disease emergencies.

  3. The Commonwealth Fund launched a Medicare Data Hub as a resource for policymakers, journalists, and others, to make it easier to find digestible data on the nation’s largest payer of health care services.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Collecting and analyzing data to help solve the COVID-19 pandemic should be a bipartisan pursuit, and the Governors are leading the way. This week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that her state joined an interstate compact with several other states and cities (Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and 19 cities -- including Boston, Honolulu, and Louisville, KY), called the Rockefeller Foundation COVID-19 Testing Solutions Group. This alliance of diverse states and regions is a result of months of trying, but failing, to get the federal government to lead on a national testing strategy. In late April, The Rockefeller Foundation started down this road when it issued a 3-pronged action plan that included the creation of a COVID-19 data commons and digital platform. IN APRIL. Hearing crickets, or as The Rockefeller Foundation kindly put it, there was “uneven progress across the federal and state governments,” it joined with an even bigger team of formidable external experts in July to offer a 50-page roadmap on how to expand lab testing capacity and collect data on positive cases so it could be shared across the country. This is truly a “How To Fix Our Biggest COVID-19 Problems” manual -- complete with appreciation for and how to build on the critical baby steps that were already taken -- like when HHS required labs to report Covid-19 test results and demographic metadata by August 1st using federal data standards. When the summer came and went with no forthcoming national testing strategy that supports a robust data collection and sharing process, The Rockefeller Foundation turned to the states and cities that understand why this is necessary so at least they could get on with it. So the thoughtful question of the day is: Why isn’t this a 50-state group instead of a 6-state group? We know the virus doesn’t respect state borders, so it only makes sense for everyone to share all the data to we can get back to normal.

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