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Deanne Primozic, our vice president of policy and federal affairs at Surescripts, lives at the intersection of policy, regulatory trends and advocacy. Here, Primozic informs policymakers with what she calls “the art of the possible.”

“I suppose policy was a natural fit,” Primozic tells me. That makes sense, given where she grew up and where she lives today: the Washington, D.C., area.

Primozic was pre-med in college—until an internship with an orthopedic surgeon made her reconsider. “What about the business side of healthcare?” she wondered. Since then, Primozic has managed policy, advocacy and strategic initiatives for major healthcare players throughout her career.

She has a bird’s-eye view on the policy issues that matter most in healthcare today.

I’ve edited our conversation for length and clarity.

Bradley: As our resident “policy wonk,” what do you enjoy about your role?

Primozic: I like to bring the “art of the possible” to policymakers when it comes to health IT, with the goal of creating sound policies that leverage technology and make healthcare more efficient and effective.

What this means is looking at regulatory policy from the eye of the policymaker.

What problem does policy need to solve? Is there statutory authority to pull certain policy levers? How can technology plus policy best solve the problem, keeping in mind where technology’s capabilities are today, and where they are headed in the future?

Bradley: What does your art look like in action?

Primozic: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule on electronic prior authorization for services and durable medical equipment (DME) is a good example. As you know, prior authorization is a real pain point in healthcare. Among other things, the new rule, which will take effect in 2026, requires that payers give a reason for denying prior authorization.

To write good policy on something like this, policymakers must understand the technology that enables electronic prior authorization—where it is now and where it will be in the future. That took a lot of looking at the problem through the eyes of people at CMS. There were many meetings and listening sessions with stakeholders of all types to inform the policymaking.

“There’s a bipartisan appetite for legislation that supports pharmacists as part of the care team.”

Bradley: Speaking of the art of the possible, nine in 10 prescribers say it’s important for the healthcare industry to move toward team-based care. One reason is the shortage of primary care providers. Are policymakers paying attention to this?

Primozic: There’s a bipartisan appetite for legislation that supports pharmacists as part of the care team. But there are many other priorities in healthcare right now, and healthcare itself is slow to change. Plus, policy changes can threaten existing business models. That said, it’s too important an issue for policymakers not to take seriously. It’s about patient care, after all.

Bradley: How can policymakers support pharmacists and the move toward collaborative, team-based care?

Primozic: We’re asking for better integration of pharmacists into care teams with state and federal policies that recognize (and reimburse) the important work pharmacists are already doing with vaccinations, test to treat, medication management and acute care prescribing. Patients can get tested and treated for COVID-19 or RSV at the pharmacy, for example, rather than wait hours in urgent care.

Providers will gain an important member of the care team as pharmacists alleviate some of the issues that come with burnout and understaffing, and payers will get better care management for their members, which includes lower costs when patients are treated in the pharmacy setting.

This is about the evolving care team and how it can expand access for patients.

“We’re committed to simplifying the path to nationwide interoperability for our customers and partners.”

Bradley: Let’s talk about interoperability and the future of the Surescripts Network Alliance. We have advanced to the “candidate” phase as a Qualified Health Information NetworkTM(QHINTM) through our subsidiary Surescripts Health Information Network LLC™. What impact might this have on participants in the Surescripts Network Alliance?

Primozic: We’re committed to simplifying the path to nationwide interoperability for our customers and partners, and our subsidiary’s application to become a QHIN furthers our commitment to the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common AgreementSM (TEFCASM), which establishes a universal floor for interoperability coast to coast.

As my colleague Mark Gingrich points out, advancing interoperability in healthcare is a commitment that we have honored across the Surescripts Network Alliance for years, and the network we’ve built runs on the highest standards of access, security and performance. Readers can browse our 2023 National Progress Report to get an idea about the breadth of our reach.

So, this will benefit all who choose to participate in TEFCA and the Surescripts Health Information Network—and the patients they serve.

Bradley: Can you give me an example of a benefit?

Primozic: The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) recommends bi-directional push messaging to directly inform patient care teams with point-of-care testing and documentation.

QHINs can help make bi-directional push messaging a reality (along with other forms of intelligence sharing) by facilitating productive collaboration across the public and private sectors.

Bradley: You’ve been reading Adam Grant’s Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things. What have you taken away from it so far?

Primozic: That we should minimize our own egos and maximize group intelligence by tapping the hidden potential of everyone on the team. We don’t always need to be “achieving greater things,” but for those who work in healthcare policy, we’re often working to achieve difficult things (nationwide interoperability comes to mind). As Grant writes, it’s not about being the smartest person in the room; it’s about making the room smarter. If you want to go fast, goes the proverb, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

If you enjoyed reading about “the art of the possible,” subscribe to Intelligence in Action for more stories about how trusted intelligence can lead to simpler decision-making and better healthcare.

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