This year Academy Health co-located the National Health Policy Conference with Health Datapalooza. It was well executed. There were lots of great concurrent break-out sessions. Because of that, people had a hard time choosing which health data and policy sessions to attend. Some chose to divide their time between two. This is a high level summary of events from the conference.
On Sunday, Fred Trotter led two data workshops. The first was his NPPES/NPI workshop, which he led last year at Datapalooza. His second class was new. It focused on physician utilization data. Many of the attendees had good things to say about the class.
“I found the material interesting and learned about the background on various things I’ve been working with for years but didn’t quite know.” – Attendee
“Every time Fred said “in for a penny, in for a pound” you know you were about to get a very interesting in-depth explanation. Could not recommend these sessions more.” – Attendee
Health Datapalooza and National Health Policy Conference Recap
Niall Brennon and Melinda Buntin opened up the conference. Then, there was a string of joint plenaries. By mid-morning, the conference split into breakout sessions. As always, Academy Health did a great job making sure patients were in the room. People/patients were awarded scholarships to attend. Health data and policy? It made sense to put the two events together.
Social Determinants of Health
The phrase of the day was “social determinants of health.” There was a lot of emphasis on the fact that many factors, in addition to access to care, influence health. From economic stability, to language and zip code… If you’re in a specific category, your options for healthcare can change. “Non-compliance” should not be a vocabulary word. There is usually a need not being met before it gets to this point. More accurately, someone who is not compliant does not have the privilege.
What's the health system's role in addressing #SDOH? As discussion plays out at #NHPC20, see this pub on health systems actively addressing social needs including housing, employment, education, food security, transportation, & built environment https://t.co/7W1x7UhpG7 pic.twitter.com/3r9jK6McP6— AcademyHealth (@AcademyHealth) February 10, 2020
Power to the Patients
Another big theme is interoperability. In layman terms, your primary care doctor, your gynecologist, and your specialist all have separate systems with your healthcare records, and they should work together and talk to each other. Many speakers also called for an end to info blocking. They want data privacy and access to their data.
People, patients, consumers, whatever you call them, they all have unalienable rights — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Access to their own health data could lead to a better life, if not happiness. (Healthcare itself, should be a right). Why not give people the power over their own data?
There is a lot of power in data. It’s 2020. Go online and find tons of resources available at the click of a button. Imagine what could happen if everyone could look at their own patient journey.
Health Data Impact Award
Deven McGraw won the Health Data Impact Award. She previously served as the Deputy Director of Health Information Privacy, and served as acting Chief Privacy Officer at HHS. Currently, she is the Chief Regulatory Officer at Ciitizen. It’s a startup who helps people collect, summarize, and share medical records digitally, free of charge.
Deven has been a health privacy trailblazer for years, and a huge supporter of patient rights. She humbly accepted the award. She gave recognition to those before her, as well as the different teams she has been a part of over time.
Words from the Government
Secretary Alex Azar of HHS discussed his own experience as a patient, and the empathy is real. Before the conference, there was a whole Twitter thread. He could not receive his own health records. The Secretary of the Health and Human Services of the United States, struggling at the doctor’s office. If he has this much of an issue, what hope does anyone else have? He realizes how the healthcare system is. It needs to change. He calls for people to have access to their data, period.
Sec. Azar also touches on the Data Initiative and HHS’ vision to use open data in order to improve healthcare. And as expected, Secretary Azar spoke about the coronavirus. You can watch the video on the HHS website.
Last Notes from CareSet
It wouldn’t be a Health Datapalooza without CareSet releasing the updated Hop Teaming Dataset! With more than 100 downloads since the original dataset, the Hop Teaming dataset shows how the healthcare system flow. Using Medicare claims data, you can see referral patterns between providers.
And if you want to read more about Health Datapalooza and the National Health Policy Conference, check out Twitter Moments. This was a great event, and Academy Health deserves recognition for combining the two conferences into one healthcare extravaganza!