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Healthcare Informatics Podcast: John Halamka on Precision Medicine and the Wide-Ranging Future of Health IT

January 9, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The distinguished healthcare CIO says the government’s Precision Medicine Initiative “is doing exactly what it needs to as a catalytic force for change”

It was less than two years ago when John Halamka, M.D., CIO at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, ripped apart what at the time was the first proposed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) rule.

In May 2016, Dr. Halamka, who is often looked at as a go-to source for his thoughts on health IT policy issues, said, “The 962 pages of MACRA are so overwhelmingly complex, that no mere human will be able to understand them,” adding, “This may sound cynical, but there are probably only two rational choices for clinicians going forward—become a salaried employee delivering clinical care or become a hospital-based clinician exempted from the madness.”

But since that time, federal health officials have aimed to reduce complexity in future iterations of their rulemaking. Now, Halamka feels more at ease with MACRA, noting recently in an interview with Healthcare Informatics, “There are now so many exceptions for who has to participate and what they have to do, and there is so much more choice involved. The [regulation] isn’t quite the nature of how it used to be."

John Halamka, M.D.

As part of the most recent Healthcare Informatics podcast, Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal and Halamka discuss the CIO’s latest takeaways on the final rule, and also touch on other key health IT topics such as the next frontier in innovation, precision medicine, and the role of government—particularly in creating a nationwide patient matching strategy as well as a nationwide directory of provider endpoints to send data to.

In fact, regarding precision medicine, Halamka has helped author the book, Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine: The Role of Patient Data, Mobile Technology, and Consumer Engagement—a book published by Elsevier—and serves on an advisory committee for the government’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

The podcast below runs under 20 minutes in length, and remember, you can listen to all Healthcare Informatics podcasts right here.

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