House panel starts 3 days of hearings to explore mobile health

March 19, 2013 in Medical Technology

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, will launch a three-day series of hearings today to investigate issues involving mobile health – particularly how to keep innovation flowing without over-regulating.

Slated as a witness in Tuesday’s hearing, Jonathan Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future, an organization that represents innovators across the wireless ecosystem, including nonprofits writes in his testimony that his group is united in its commitment to advance a policy environment that encourages mobile investment and innovation.

“Nowhere is that promise of future innovation and opportunity greater than mobile health,” he writes. “Our message today is that the innovation and vision exist now in both the medical and technology communities working together collaboratively. This progress will proceed, in many respects, as rapidly as government allows.”

Kerry McDermott, the former director of healthcare for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and now senior director of health care technology policy for West Health Institute, a non-profit organization focused on lowering healthcare costs, spoke earlier with Healthcare IT News. She says there is “a lot of consternation in the market.”

Vendors, she said, “can innovate faster than the regulatory environment can keep up with.” She added that the FDA “is trying to set up guidance in the mobile app space. They are really trying to take a light-touch approach. There are so many apps that can do good; they want to let them flourish. Policy is a very blunt instrument and you’re asking the agency to snap a chalk on that curve. In today’s world that doesn’t cut it anymore. We need something to be more tailored.”

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