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Week Ahead: Pumpkin spice latte with your ONC data-blocking rule?

Sept. 16-18: Vendors, consultants and others will meet in Santa Clara, Calif., at the 12th annual Health 2.0 conference to discuss “what’s next in health tech.” That means, of course, lots of talk of interoperability, AI and other tantalizingly elusive buzzwords. Data-sharing will also be a big topic. Cerner Corp. Senior Vice President of DeviceWorks and Interoperability John Gresham will talk about how traditional electronic health record vendors, spurred on by Apple, are approaching data integration. And former ONC Chief Privacy Officer Deven McGraw, who’s now with Ciitizen, will discuss how companies are striking a balance between open data and security. Ciitizen helps patients share their records with “whomever you choose.”

Sept. 18: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is meeting to discuss cost transparency in healthcare. They’ll hear from an administrator from Utah’s St. George Surgical Center, which informs patients about the price of a procedure before it happens. Most patients aren’t so lucky. But there might be a brighter—or, should we say, more transparent—future ahead, since the CMS last month started looking for a company to help build a consumer-facing price comparison tool.

This week, maybe: The ONC is required by the 21st Century Cures Act to create a rule that outlines what types of information-blocking are prohibited. ONC head Dr. Don Rucker has said the agency will release that much-anticipated, long-awaited, and—seriously—very important rule sometime this fall. Sept. 22 is the first day of fall, and since Starbucks already jumped the gun on releasing its pumpkin spice latte for the season, this is the thing you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for.


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