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Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD and editor-in-chief for Kaiser Health News identified five Trump Policies she feels should continue.

We cover them and discuss the IT implications. 

Transcript

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  Today in Health it we are going to take a look at a story that was in the New York Times about the Trump administration policies that are worth carrying over in regard to healthcare. Of course, my name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current.

And engaged, no sponsor for today. Just wanted to make you aware we are working diligently even now as you're listening to this. We are gonna do some really exciting things on our website this week, health.com. We are introducing the written word. We're doing summaries. We are doing a whole bunch of things.

You're gonna see a complete rework of the site, trying to make it easier for you to find things that you're looking for and to break it down a little bit more, so that when you're doing research on fill in the blank, on uh, robotic process automation and those kind of things, you can . Find it very quickly.

So we have a lot of those things coming. Keep an eye out this Thursday on this week, health.com. Alright. Here's today's story. Elizabeth Rosenthal, md, former emergency room physician and editor in chief of Kaiser Health News, wrote this in a March 11th column, published in the New York Times five Trump administration healthcare initiatives that should stick around.

All right, so I'm gonna rattle 'em off. Then we'll go to the, so what First one, Trump administration required most hospitals to post a list of standard prices for supplies, drugs, tests, and procedures. Dr. Rosenthal says this has already led to some lower prices. All right, that's number one. Number two, price transparency.

We've talked about this on the show a couple times. Hospitals are required to publish rates. They agree to accept from insurers for common medical services. These are the shoppable services. So that's number two. Third thing she thinks should stick around is drug makers were ordered to list prices in advertisements for medications that cost more than $35 per month.

Uh, that was blocked by the courts, but she believes that should, we should continue to push forward with that. The fourth thing, former health secretary Alex Azar, said Importing medicine from Canada poses no additional risks to the public health and safety and would result in a significant reduction in costs.

So Dr. Rosenthal believes that, uh, will lead to lower prescription costs for, uh, medications and. So she believes that should continue. And number five, the former president issued an executive order to ensure prices for certain drugs purchased by Medicare did not exceed the lowest price available in other developed countries.

The court ruled against this as well. I. Alright, let's do the so what on these five things, before I comment on these five items, let me talk a little bit about just a principle on leadership. I followed some really excellent leaders, the kind of leaders that you follow and you're like, I don't know how I'm gonna live up to what they have done before me and I wanna continue these policies and continue these success they've had.

And I followed some not so good leaders, the kind that you come in and follow and they say, look, . We hired you to turn things around to make things better. The thing that I will tell you that it is rarely the case where you throw everything out the window and start over, and there's a couple reasons that for that, the primary reason that it's likely an indictment, not only on the former leadership.

Which makes sense, but it's an indictment on the existing staff because many of them worked on those initiatives. Many of them had input to those initiatives and those kind of things. I realize government's a little different, but that it, it's not all that different. It is polarizing and shortsighted to make those kinds of moves as a leader, and that doesn't seem to matter much in today's highly polarized political climate.

So let's just take a look at these five things, five items. That Dr. Rosenthal put out there and, and see what their impact is on health It. Alright, so the first two i, I lumped together, uh, list standard prices and price transparency, these should move forward and I, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't move forward.

There's no reason why we should, and we continue to show up at a hospital and submit ourselves to a massive bill without knowing the costs. As a patient. That's what I'm saying. I'm sorry, but I have the freedom to deny my self care if I choose, people will make the argument that pricing is too complex for the patient to understand.

Okay, that's great. Let's fix that problem. People may make the wrong conclusions on medical costs if we publish this information, but they are already making those kinds of decisions in the absence of this information. So let's provide it and then fix the problem of making it understandable and helping people to make the right decisions.

So this is a, a step in addressing surprise bills, which has been a horrific problem. Maybe you've had family members, maybe you've received a surprise bill. And it is a devastating event for a family. If we say we wanna be consumer-centric in healthcare and don't support price transparency, we are really being disingenuous at best.

So I think there's a lot of technology projects around that to make that available. I. To the patient through our portal and through our digital strategy. I think there's, uh, opportunities to make it available at the point of care. I'll talk about that in a second. Number three was drug makers listing their prices in advertisements.

I, I get it, but I'm not really a huge fan. I don't think that's where I get my information on which medication I should take. I think I get it when I'm sitting across from the clinician, and this is where it steps in. So it's a, a, a situation where I want to be able to have a conversation with the provider about what the options are.

For me from a medication standpoint, not just on drug interaction, but on cost as well, and I can envision a conversation where it's a, Hey, here's this medication for a thousand dollars, this one for 300, or this one for 45. But let's talk about the pros and cons of each. And you might say, the clinicians might say, Hey, this is gonna take too long.

That's where we live. That's where it lives. If this takes too long, we don't have the right information at the point of care. Let's get the right information at the point of care and let's reduce the amount of time that it actually takes. Quite frankly, we're asking people to put stuff in their bodies and we're asking them to take on the cost of this.

I think we can come up with systems and invest in the right systems and processes to have these conversations at the point of care. So I, I think again, this whole pricing and where do we . Start to inject pricing into the conversation for healthcare is gonna be, continue to be big over the next year, two years or so.

Uh, and so we need to be ready to do that. Pull that information out of wherever it is and bring it to the points of care and bring it into our digital strategies. Uh, the fourth item here was import meds from Canada. Sure. If it poses no risk, by all means keep doing it. I don't see a huge health it component to that.

I. And then the final thing, the executive order for Medicare purchasing drugs. I, I don't know, I'm just not a fan of executive orders. I think we can make a policy and, and push that policy through ONC and CMS, you know, why do we need executive orders? Uh, executive orders, that's just a, a rant for another day.

But it just feels to me like. One, one president comes in, signs 200 executive orders. The next one comes in and signs 200 executive orders. It's feeling more like a monarchy these days. That's all for today. If you know of someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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