Health IT Now bolstered by HIT hearings

Urges bipartisan work on ways to promote safety, without hindering innovation

The Health IT Now Coalition says that last week’s three days of hearings on healthcare IT held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the potential effects of current and a potentially new regulatory framework for health information technology, were promising.

“We are hopeful the administration will rethink their framework and work with Congress to revise the outdated regulatory structure for new technologies along the lines of what Newborn Coalition has suggested,” the coalition wrote in a press statement.

“New technologies are rapidly changing the health care industry by creating incentives to lower costs and improve health outcomes for patients. Like almost every other aspect of our economy and lives, mobile apps and smart devices are transforming how consumers interact with care givers,” said Joel White, executive director of the Health IT Now Coalition. “There are infinite possibilities for our smartphones, tablets and mobile apps, but we need to rethink regulations designed to protect patient safety and enhance innovation in medical technologies.”

The hearings explored proposed regulations by the Food and Drug Administration that could harm the innovation of health-related mobile applications and devices.

Jim Bialick, executive director of the Newborn Coalition, a Health IT Now Coalition member, testified on March 20 before the Health Subcommittee hearing titled “Health Information Technologies: How Innovation Benefits Patients.”

“What we need is a new framework for evaluating health technologies that can scale to effectively regulate what we are using today, and anticipate technologies yet to be conceived… Patient safety and innovation are not mutually exclusive; they are complementary concepts in a system that clearly lays out the rules of the road,” Bialick told the subcommittee. “Congress should reevaluate the current process, including FDA’s draft guidance on mobile applications, and pass legislation to promote safety and advance innovation.”

“We are hopeful the Administration will rethink their framework and work with Congress to revise the outdated regulatory structure for new technologies along the lines of what Newborn Coalition has suggested,” added White. “To think we cannot do better than the framework enacted in 1976 for technologies that are evolving as rapidly as mobile apps is shortsighted. The Health IT Now Coalition encourages Republicans and Democrats to work together to creatively address emerging technologies in a bipartisan manner.”

The Health IT Now Coalition promotes the rapid deployment of health information technology. Health IT will benefit patients and health care consumers while supporting health practitioners to make smart decisions about patient care while promoting efficiency.