Pricing transparency will bring value to health care consumers, Don Rucker says


ONC chief Don Rucker, MD, who is leading the government’s effort to promote interoperability of health data, says he would like to see more transparency in health care pricing.

Dr. Rucker, who was a keynote speaker at the Center for Connected Medicine’s (CCM) Top of Mind 2019 Summit, was asked what he would fix in health care if he could only fix one thing.

His answer: Bring greater transparency to health care prices and the value consumers are getting when they buy health services.

Transparency in health care prices was just one of the topics Dr. Rucker, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), addressed during an exclusive interview with the CCM following his keynote talk.

APIs key to bringing innovation to health care

Dr. Rucker also said he expects application programming interfaces, or APIs, to unleash a new health care economy.

APIs allow for communications between different computer systems and have been instrumental in the creation of the modern app economy.

Dr. Rucker cites the example of mobile ride-sharing services from Uber and Lyft, which connect their apps via APIs to online maps, credit card processors, and many other systems in order to deliver a seamless experience for the consumer.

It is hoped that the use of APIs to connect various health care data systems empower patients with more information and more convenient health services.

Administration continuing efforts to increase interoperability

Finally, Dr. Rucker emphasized that the White House and Department of Health and Human Services are fully supportive of efforts to increase interoperability, which started with the 21st Century Cures Act under the previous administration.

Dr. Rucker, who joined the ONC in 2017, explained how the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill passed by Congress in 2017, is promoting interoperability in a previously posted video.

What is Top of Mind in Health IT?

As health system leaders consider the challenges and opportunities of 2019, they are increasing their spending to defend against cyberattacks, expressing optimism about reimbursement for telehealth services, and feeling anxiety about Apple, Amazon and Google entering the health care space.

Those were among key findings in the report, “Top of Mind for Top Health Systems 2019,” which focuses three areas of health IT set to impact health systems in 2019: CybersecurityTelehealth, and Interoperability.

The findings are based on quantitative and qualitative surveys of C-suite executives at nearly 40 U.S. health systems. The research was conducted by the Health Management Academy in partnership with the CCM.

More from the Top of Mind 2019 Summit:

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