Epic sees global interoperability on its horizon

As interoperability becomes a growing focal point for big tech companies looking to enter health care, medical record software company Epic is taking steps toward the same goal, reports Healthcare IT News. At the company's annual Users Group Meeting last month, CEO Judy Faulkner said facilitating seamless data visibility across Epic customers through its One Virtual System Worldwide initiative would advance patient care and lead to medical breakthroughs. While some say that Epic-only connectivity isn’t true interoperability, the company claims the initiative does encompass organizations that use other electronic health records.

Amazon, Chase and Berkshire Hathaway name COO for health venture

Jack Stoddard, former digital health manager at Comcast and senior vice president at Optum-turned-UnitedHealth, will be the COO of the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan health startup, CNBC reports. Sources say that Stoddard will begin next Tuesday.

Stoddard has served as an advisor and board member for various medical health startups, and helped found Accolade, a Comcast-backed health company, which is discussed below.

Comcast shepherds health care disruption to keep its own costs low

Comcast has kept its health care costs relatively flat as many other large companies see theirs rise to the tune of 10 percent each year, the New York Times reports. This is largely because Comcast directly manages its medical costs instead of handing that task to insurers, consultants or associations, the publication said. For example, Comcast encourages its employees to work with health startup Accolade (in which Comcast has invested). Accolade briefs patients on the costs of services before they buy and otherwise helps employees use their benefits wisely. They also nudge their staff toward the startup Grand Rounds, which collects medical records for its customers, offers second opinions and helps patients finding physicians. Comcast also works with telehealth company Doctor on Demand, which connects employees to physicians via phone calls.

“We see the start-up community as where the real disruption is taking place,” Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, told the publication. “We weren’t seeing enough innovation [elsewhere].”

San Francisco uses data to get a bigger picture of its entire homeless population

As of last month, the city of San Francisco began tracking its homeless — with the help of big data — with the intention of ultimately connecting this population to health care services, housing and other options, the New York Times reports. Called the One System, it’s designed to track the city’s every homeless man, woman and child, linking disparate records on them throughout various city departments and thus providing the “big picture” of each person. By connecting these dots, homelessness counselors, shelter staff and others can better determine how to approach individuals. One System is similar to tracking methods that have helped other cities such as Salt Lake City, Chicago and Houston diminish homelessness, the publication said.

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