September 30, 2021
Only What Matters In Health Information Policy
Netflix acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, promising that we can watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over and over again. (Hopefully they mean the Gene Wilder version, because WOW that Johnny Depp version was freaky. And will Netflix include the planned prequel with Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy Wonka with Daddy issues?) We bring this up because Charlie Bucket’s story, the child to whom the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka named the heir of his mysterious chocolate factory by winning a Golden Ticket, is like the One Thoughtful Paragraph below. Spoiler alert: the FTC is little Charlie, and Congress is Willy Wonka.
Other news about someone winning a Golden Ticket:
Epic Systems had a big Golden Ticket week: Walmart announced that it selected Epic’s E.H.R. system for their Walmart Health Centers. Epic is also working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the White House / FDA / CDC to use its Epic MyChart app, which links a person’s vaccination status to a QR Code or display it on a mobile device. The new tech is currently live for 25 million patients, but there are reportedly plans for 70+ million people to have access to it by the end of 2022.
Several Golden Tickets were given away by AWS Healthcare Accelerator and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles’ KidsX: b.well, Gyant, Kaizen Health and 7 other healthcare start-ups were selected to collaborate with AWS and other leaders about their innovative digital healthcare solutions.
Truveta’s Golden Ticket: Microsoft is giving Truveta funding to accelerate its mission of collecting de-identified data from major hospital systems to help researchers find cures faster. Truveta also gets to build its platform on Microsoft’s cloud for healthcare, with all of its fancy bells and whistles.
One Thoughtful Paragraph
“Come with me ... and you’ll be ... in a world of pure imagination.” Maybe the FTC just watched Gene Wilder’s beautiful rendition of the song Pure Imagination in the 1971 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and that’s why they think they can create new privacy rules without Congress? According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC is considering drafting new privacy rules that could impose significant new obligations on businesses about how they handle consumer data -- including non-HIPAA-covered health data that are all over mobile apps these days. Congress, for its part, is starting to talk (again) about how there should be some comprehensive federal data privacy law -- and there are suggestions that the FTC would be in charge if there was one -- but seems unlikely to pass anytime soon. At least the HIPAA Privacy Rule has a new leader in charge: HHS announced the appointment of Lisa J. Pino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights. We will see if a final rule will be released now, after OCR proposed one 10 long months ago. But if we are going to use our imagination, we would create a new health information agency to make sure we aren’t slowing down the important use of this information (see news above) while keeping everything protected. Someone should find a Golden Ticket for that idea.