• Julie Barnes

October 29, 2020

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters On Information Policy

Maverick Health Policy would like to say something intelligent about the upcoming election, but that is a tall order… and the tallest order we are making right now is for a frozen margarita that comes with our take-out. It seems true that health information policy activity will continue in earnest no matter what happens on November 3, 2020, so we are going to suspend disbelief about the rest of it for now.

  1. Saving lives with data. In a New York Times op-ed, a University of Washington professor who directs the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said that if the federal government continues to withhold COVID-19 data from researchers, more than 2,000 Americans will die every day.

  2. With money comes rules. U.S. health tech startups pulled in more investment capital their biopharma counterparts this year (example: Olive raised $106M recently for its AI-health care administrative software that does tasks like prior authorization and benefits verification for hospitals) -- and, coincidentally, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer recently announced that all federal agencies will soon have new guidance on how to regulate artificial intelligence in the respective industries they oversee.

  3. Paying for modern health care tech. Authors of a new Health Affairs blog post say that digital technology can only modernize U.S. health care if Medicare starts paying for it in a way that makes sense.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Some tech CEOs got negative attention this week when they testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Other tech executives were luckier -- Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list recognized 100 executives who primarily represent tech, health care, finance, consulting, or all of the above. Julie Sweet, as CEO of Accenture, directed the firm’s expertise in cloud and digital services to help the U.K.’s 1.2 million National Health Service employees work remotely during the pandemic and to partner with Salesforce on contact tracing and vaccine management technology. Ruth Porat, Google’s SVP and CFO, is helping to run the massive search company that receives around 1 billion health questions every day, is the #1 investor in digital health startups (it has ~57), and has 600 of its employees in the Google Health division working on too many projects to start listing here. Corie Barry, as the CEO of Best Buy, is actively pivoting the company to the health care space through its $1 billion worth of health-related acquisitions, expanding its trusted Geek Squad into healthcare services in the home, and it just partnered with Kaiser Permanente to develop remote patient-monitoring tools for older adults. The list is impressive, makes clear that the private sector understands that health care modernization is worthy of substantial human and financial resources, and makes you forget about the upcoming election for a few minutes.

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Julie Barnes, J.D. 

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