The Federal Trade Commission likes ONC’s interoperability roadmap for the most part, but observes that interoperability will continue to be hampered by the competitive interests of providers and vendors. It also gently warns ONC that its strategy of using policy and funding levers to create interoperability demand might encourage less innovation than if the government instead created market forces as a payer (i.e., Medicare). FTC says that its experience shows that vendor participation in creating standards and certifying products causes anti-competitive behavior, such as withholding certification from a competitor, excluding new products from meeting prior standards, rigging the standards-setting organization with vendor-friendly members, and not paying enough attention to patient rights. FTC is also worried that vendor-recommended standards will lock consumers onto a platform that may have been created with the intention of stifling competition. Lastly, FTC is concerned that any standards ONC chooses will be treated as law, so if they really want to get into the standards-setting business, they had better choose carefully.
From Pulpit Bully: “Re: Georgia Medicaid Fair. Here’s a free training event for those who want to get some insight into why our industry is hopelessly complex. I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but this is an ENTIRE DAY of sessions about how insurance companies and the government make it difficult for people to manage their health.” It doesn’t sound like a target-rich environment for booth swag.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: CPSI. Heard there is an ‘all hands on deck’ meeting on Monday and they have rented a large facility. Wonder why would they do this during the HIMSS conference?” Unverified. At least some of their hands won’t be on deck in Mobile unless they vacate their HIMSS exhibit. It’s probably their user group meeting in Sandestin, which is also next week.
From Beaker: “Re: self-ordered lab tests. This should end well.” A just-signed Arizona law that will take effect in July will allow people to order their own lab tests without a doctor’s involvement. It was pushed by Silicon Valley lab high-flyer Theranos. I like the patient-centered aspect, although certainly Theranos has executed a smart business coup in removing physicians as its sales bottleneck. The obvious unknown is how consumers will react to receiving abnormal results – treat themselves inappropriately, pester their doctors, or demand that their insurance pay for tests of questionable medical usefulness. Doctors serve both as clinical and utilization gatekeepers and it’s a brave new world when those roles are removed and consumers are turned loose with minimal knowledge.