Noam H. Arzt

See the following -

Preparing for 2017: Four Important Reports

With so much transition ahead of us at the Federal, state, and local levels in 2017, it is important to begin to plan for what the Health IT landscapes will look like for the coming year (and beyond). Several key reports have come out – mostly from government sources – which are worth serious consideration for any Health IT planner...There are no easy answers here, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the information presented in these reports. But they cannot be ignored and can help form the basis of a solid organizational or governmental strategy.

Ready or Not: New Report on Protecting the Public's Health

The Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released its 2019 edition of what it hopes will be an annual report, Ready or Not: Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism last February. The ground-breaking report warns about key global challenges ahead, like the risk of a flu pandemic; the impact of weather pattern changes due to climate change; the dangers of antimicrobial resistance, and others, and tries to offer advice on how to prepare for them.

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Report on ONC’s Working Session on Patient Identity and Matching

On Monday, August 31, I attended the final Working Session on Patient Identity and Matching. This virtual event was hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). This Working Session was a followup to an earlier session back in June 2020. The event last week had over 300 attendees and covered a wide range of topics and technologies related to patient identity and matching. These ONC Working Sessions are being driven by requirements that are part of the 21st Century Cures Act as well as a Congressional request from December 2019 to continue to "...evaluate the effectiveness of current [patient identity and matching] methods and recommend actions that increase the likelihood of an accurate match of patients to their health care data." Much of the focus of this study has been on whether a national patient identifier should be implemented in the US.

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Report on the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum

Last week I attended with my colleague Mike Berry the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum. This meeting was convened under the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in late 2016. Several hundred participants attended a series of panel presentations and discussions. The forum took place over one-and-a-half-days. The forum covered a variety of topics related to interoperability, including discussion of the business case for interoperability, semantics, national networks, and application programming interfaces (APIs). In many ways the speakers were “the usual suspects” involved in national networks, standards development, and HIE planning and implementation.

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So I Survived HIMSS19…

This was perhaps more of a fete than it initially seems. The conference was massive, with over 40,000 attendees. It centered around a trade show exhibit hall that spanned multiple football fields in length. In some ways, it was so big that I felt somewhat discouraged from attending some educational sessions because they were located so far from where I was hanging out that I could get back and forth in time. So I spent most of my time at the Interoperability Showcase since HLN was participating in two of the use cases: Immunization Integration & CDS, featuring our ICE open source immunization evaluation and forecasting system...

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Successful Public Health IT Project Collaboration

Most public health information technology projects rely on strong collaboration to be successful, especially across vendor-client boundaries. Here are some successful strategies: Clear vision. A concise and clear vision focused on public health outcomes is embraced and articulated by all participants in the project; Strong support and leadership from senior management. Without strong support from senior management, projects are rarely given the priority to enable success. This prioritization includes both agency and vendor commitment.

The Evolving Landscape of Health Information Exchange

The original vision for nationwide health information exchange was a “network of networks” model where local HIEs would interact HIE-to-HIE to form a virtual national network. But notice that many of the new initiatives are essentially solving a different problem: they are enabling point-to-point connections across a wider geography and set of clinical sites. This seems more like a large, single national network rather than leverage of more distributed organizations or implementations. Only time will tell if these private sector initiatives will collaborate, converge or compete. And only time will tell of the limitations of ONC’s ability to influence and provide leadership will creates gaps or provide new opportunities for innovation.

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The Reduction of State-coordinated HIE: How Should Public Health React?

Noam ArztA recent article in HealthAffairs describes a significant decline in the number of both operational HIEs and HIEs in the planning stage from several years earlier. The authors note continuing barriers to broad-based HIE and a shift to vendor-driven exchange which diminishes the effectiveness of community-based networks. In effect, this translates to a shift away from geographic-based/dominated HIEs to product-dominated HIEs. We have already noted (see The Interoperability of Things) the lack of a national strategy on HIE, and ONC’s Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap barely mentions the concept.

Update on Patient Matching Activities

I have written several times about patient matching in the US, both in a blog entry and a published article. On December 11, 2017 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a half-day “Interoperability in Action” webinar focused on Patient Matching Milestones at ONC (see slides). The webinar focused on four ONC projects from the past year. Here’s a quick run-down on what they covered. Read More »

US Core Data for Interoperability Task Force Delivers its Recommendations

On April 18, 2018 the HHS Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) US Core Data for Interoperability Task Force delivered its recommendations on the draft US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) and Proposed Expansion Process which had been published for public comment back in January 2018. HITAC promptly accepted the Task Force’s recommendations. The Task Force focused almost exclusively on the process for identifying the USCDI rather than the proposed USCDI data itself. I especially appreciated their introduction of some key concepts related to how USCDI should be organized and understood.

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US Senate Releases Draft Future Pandemic Preparedness Plan - Asks for Feedback

On June 10, 2020 the US Senate released a white paper titled "Preparing for the Next Pandemic" under the signature of Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The white paper has five recommendations to address future pandemics based on lessons learned from COVID-19 and the past 20 years of pandemic planning. "The five recommendations...along with a series of questions at the end of this white paper, are intended to elicit recommendations that Congress can consider and act on this year," Senator Alexander said in a statement, adding that "I am inviting comments, responses, and any additional recommendations for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to consider. This feedback will be shared with my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican." This feedback from the public will be accepted until June 26, 2020... Read More »

Why Cloud-Based Public Health Solutions are a Good Option for Clinical Decision Support

Cloud computing is one of the most powerful technology deployment strategies in use today. In fact, the notion of cloud resources has become prominent in consumer computing with only a limited understanding of what it means or does (e.g., Apple iCloud and Google Cloud). In this article we will examine some of the key reasons to host public health clinical decision support (CDS) solutions in the cloud. In a recent national survey, 95% of respondents indicated that they were using some form of cloud computing in their environment...The first step is to to understand the difference between cloud computing and traditional computing.

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AIRA 2018 National Meeting

Event Details
Type: 
Conference
Date: 
August 14, 2018 (All day) - August 16, 2018 (All day)

At the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) 2018 National Meeting, we will continue to work toward our common goal of supporting and promoting the development, implementation and interoperability of Immunization Information Systems (IIS). Through formal presentations and informal discussions, attendees will have an opportunity to strengthen long-term partnerships, develop new relationships, gain professional education and training, and learn from one another.

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2018 Public Health Informatics Conference

Event Details
Type: 
Conference
Date: 
August 19, 2018 (All day) - August 23, 2018 (All day)

It’s been nearly two years since the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) released its multi-article supplement, “Public Health Informatics: A Call to Action,” in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. Since then, it’s only become clearer that to effectively serve communities in today’s information-driven world, public health – and its cross-sector partners – must advance and strengthen its capability to transform data into action (e.g., services, interventions, and policies). But forging that capability is no easy feat. Challenges such as underdeveloped information technology (IT) infrastructure, lack of training, and insufficient workforce capacity have made public health informatics seem either intimidating or vastly inaccessible to public health professionals. Despite this, there is a role for informatics within every health department. The 2018 PHI Conference exists to help you learn that role through sessions, workshops, and peer-sharing opportunities that:

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ISDS 2019

Event Details
Type: 
Conference
Date: 
January 29, 2019 (All day) - February 1, 2019 (All day)

The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) conference is the premier event dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of biosurveillance. Every year, the ISDS conference draws approximately 400 professionals from a broad range of disciplines to learn the latest achievements, analytic methods, best practices, conceptual frameworks, and technical innovations in the rapidly evolving field of health surveillance. Additionally, ISDS offers a one-day One Health Symposium prior to the first day of the Annual Conference to explore the intersection of Human, Animal and Environmental Health.

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