Healthcare Business News

Calif. lawmaker aims to spur mobile health innovation

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: December 4, 2012 - 2:30 pm ET

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that aims to support mobile health and health technology innovation and adoption in part by requiring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish an office of wireless health technology.

Honda, who represents Silicon Valley, introduced the Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act (PDF) on Monday.

There is "a lack of an established marketplace for new technologies and a lack of trained workers to handle the implementation and use of these technologies," Honda said in a news release. "This bill begins to bridge these gaps."

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The bill would establish a mobile health, or mHealth, developer support program at HHS and create prize and grant programs to encourage development of new health information technology. Certified electronic health-record technologies are excluded from the programs.

In addition, the legislation would develop a low-interest small-business loan program for clinics and physician practices to encourage purchases of new health IT technologies and services, including EHRs, as well as a grant program to support providers as they retrain employees for new health IT-related positions.

In an e-mailed statement to Modern Healthcare, Honda said the U.S. has been successful in promoting the adoption of EHRs and payment model technologies, but "developments in other areas have not seen similar investments."

He cited telemedicine, mobile technologies used for personal health monitoring, and patient and doctor communication tools as examples of other such developments.

"This bill doesn't distinguish between a technology that is FDA-regulated or not, but rather it focuses on promoting all kinds of innovation in this space that lowers costs and improves quality of care," Honda said in the statement.

A task force convened by the Federal Communications Commission recently recommended that federal agencies boost collaboration on health IT efforts.

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