Hey Ezekiel Emanuel, yes, we need to think big, but we also need to think smart for government health IT projects.
Healthcare IT News recently published an article discussing an interview with Ezekiel Emanuel, a member of President Biden’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, a team of leading public health and scientific experts who advised on the response to the pandemic.
The Administration intends to launch a national website to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations by May 1, 2021.
While we agree with Dr. Emanuel that the government’s IT response to COVID-19 needs improvement, we do not necessarily agree on his suggested pathway to that improvement. Dr. Emanuel suggests a vaccine passport platform where every vaccine site in the country has the same system—meaning one single health IT platform. Dr. Emanuel remarked that health IT companies have not taken a swift response to COVID-19 or vaccine rollout. He also criticized the government’s contracting processes in terms of IT development, stating that it was not iterative enough and yielded often inadequate results.
Though BookZurman is aligned with the problem statement, we contend that health IT subject matter experts can help illuminate Dr. Emanuel with more realistic and holistic solutions.
BookZurman President Brian Book contends that, “The solution isn’t having the same system, it’s using the same data standard. Having the same system destroys innovation and creates monopolies. If everyone used the same data standard, however, every system could share data seamlessly. The market would then be free to create whatever innovation for how to use, store and analyze the data, and even aspire to AI someday.”
We wondered if it’s possible that when Dr. Emanuel states “same systems,” he is actually alluding to “shared data standards” but speaking about it in a very high level, laymen’s terms way. But still, he does clearly defend a single platform.
Here is an example regarding data standards and their benefits: Think about the power outlet in your home, it follows a standard of size, voltage, plug, etc. Because of that standard, you can move all the things in your home to any other home in the U.S. and know that your lights, TVs, computers, games, and so on will still work seamlessly. Healthcare is the only industry that refuses to embrace standards.
If we used Dr. Emanuel’s approach outside of healthcare, there would be only one provider of everything that uses electricity in your home and we would all use that one, single provider. Now doesn’t that sound noniterative and inadequate?
We need to think smarter, not harder, for government health IT projects. Health data standards are a helpful step towards health data quality and healthcare interoperability.
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Source: Jerich, K. (2021, April 22). Ezekiel Emanuel wants big thinking for new government health IT projects. Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/ezekiel-emanuel-wants-big-thinking-new-government-health-it-projects.Connect the Dots with BookZurman
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