Subcommittees Team Up To Learn How 21st Century Technology Can Improve 21st Century Cures

July 17, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittees on Communications and Technology and Health today held a joint hearing to discuss how the intersection of technology and health care in the 21st century can accelerate the #Path2Cures. Members heard from experts in both the health and technology fields regarding opportunities for the health care industry to embrace advances in technology. This collaboration, a goal of 21st Century Cures, aims to bring patients, researchers, and doctors together to improve both patient care and the development, discovery, and delivery cycle of new treatments.

“From electronic health records to cloud storage of genome research and apps that identify preventive health strategies, we are looking at the future of medicine,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “We have the opportunity to not only enable new cures, but accelerate the pace at which they are realized. By taking full advantage of available technology, the possibilities for the future of health care gives us hope.”

“This is an opportunity to recognize the benefits wireless smartphones and devices can provide to improve an individual’s health and the health care community. We have seen examples of this intersection already, from wearable devices that track activity, to the use of mobile apps reminding users of their individual health needs, to a patient’s ability to easily and remotely communicate with their doctor through a telehealth device,” added Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR).

Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) commented, “Technology holds great potential for the future of health care and personalized medicine. In order to realize this potential, however, we are going to have to address barriers that currently make full integration difficult.”

Dr. Jonathan Niloff of the McKesson Corporation agreed with Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) that the regulation of health care technology and medical devices needs to be modernized. He underscored the need for predictability in order to drive innovation.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) discussed the status of interoperability, expressing concern that the federal government has spent roughly $24 billion on products that are not interoperable and not compatible with the primary electronic health records vendor.  

Niloff discussed with Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a registered nurse, that technology can help create a health care system that “makes it not just better care but better experience for patients and families and how Congress can modify law to drive that type of system of care which will benefit all Americans.” 

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