October 22, 2021
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
Unless you are a parent of an older teenager / 20-something, there is a good chance that you never saw Phineas and Ferb -- a Disney cartoon series (2008-2015) that delighted both kids and parents with its original musical-comedy. Each episode had a pattern where two (8-year-old?) brothers would try to think of how to fill their summer vacation days that inevitably lead to Phineas exclaiming “Hey Ferb, I know what we are going to do today!” They would then gather their friends for some sort of ridiculous and unrealistic construction project, the older sister (Candace) would try to foil their plans and tattle to their parents, and there would be some side story involving their pet platypus Perry who was actually a secret agent on a mission to stop the evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. This plot is quite similar to the current state of our healthcare system, as we make clear below in the One Thoughtful Paragraph.
This is what we are going to do today for news highlights:
As part of the 21st Century Cures Act final rule, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) launched a Standards Version Advancement Process (SVAP) so health IT developers of E.H.R.s could update their data standards. This week, ONC announced that it is shifting its SVAP timeline to allow for more industry collaboration, extending the comment period from September 2021 to May 2022. Standards are expected next summer.
Health Level Seven International (HL7), with the support of ONC and CDC, launched Helios, a FHIR accelerator for public health, to streamline data sharing across all levels of public health. It is not clear to us how this is going to work, but apparently SNOMED is going to help.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
In Boston this week, the digital health conference HLTH21, featured several companies making big declarations like Phineas: “We know what we are going to do today!” Walmart and Google intend to use their familiar brands to offer consumers what the traditional healthcare players are not, with digital touchpoints and use-at-home products. Many companies are making a concerted effort to go after millennials with their tech-focused solutions. Of course, the virtual care announcements (Amazon, UnitedHealthcare/Optum, TytoCare, IncludedHealth, eVisit) were also fairly constant. But the FTC is like Phineas’ older sister (Candace) -- trying hard to foil big tech’s big plans, but like Candace, struggles to actually stop anything from happening. The Department of Justice serves as our secret agent Perry the Platypus, stopping the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtzes from committing healthcare fraud -- particularly in telehealth schemes. It is not clear how this is going to turn out, but we suspect that Disney will figure out a way to make this into a musical comedy series. (If Disney is reading this: may we suggest Tom Holland - your Spiderman - and Zac Efron - your High School Musical dreamboat - as Phineas and Ferb? They can sing!)