Podcast: Tom Talks Medical Data & Interoperability

Join us as FBS Consultant Tom Sawyer explains the problems with medical data and the push toward interoperability through the 21st Century Cures Act.


Wouldn’t it be great if every doctor you visit had access to your full medical history? Even better, wouldn’t you love full access to your own medical history?

It may be a surprise to you that this isn’t already the case. With boxes, clouds, and drives connecting data and files around the world, why haven’t these systems made their way into healthcare? If your Facebook page can mysteriously show you an advertisement for the pizza place your coworker suggested last week, surely we can establish a universal healthcare database, right?

In this installment of Tom Talks, Tom delves into the medical data implications of the 21st Century Cures Act, where the goal of a fully-accessible and universal healthcare database is established.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

What is interoperability? (4:39) “Interoperability is having the ability of Health Information Exchanges that the doctors and hospitals use…to talk to one another.”

When talking about the goal and purpose of implementing interoperability. (7:02) “The whole essence of this is to get information captured, exposing it the employee (or the utilizer) so they have access to the information, and to create transparency. So, each of the networks, each of the doctors, all of the hospitals and the payers…they can follow the information and services that were rendered by [other] doctors and hospitals.”

Who, if anyone is doing this currently? (11:00) “[Seema Verma launched] it in Medicare…CMS said [they] are going to give every person…an app called Blue Button 2.0, so all the Medicare people have an application that they can carry with them…to where they have access to all this information.”

What are the next steps? (12:30) “They are wanting to mandate, that now they expand this Blue Button 2.0 to all of the Medicare Advantage people…and then mandate it also for the CHIP people…and the Medicaid department.”

When does this need to happen? (13:18) They are trying to mandate that this begin on January 1st, 2020, just six months from now.”

How are the doctors and hospitals responding to these mandates? (17:19) “They are merely saying [they] kind of agree that this is probably something that all of us need to have, is access to our information, to put, as they said initially, the consumer in the driver’s seat, so that se are now empowered here in the country…It’s just that right now, they are feeling a little but pushed.”

Check out the podcast to understand the full implications of this new legislation.