House of Representative Mike Honda wants to help us innovate… Really!
With the Affordable Care Act, a whole new cohort of people who never had health insurance before now have access to better and more efficient care… theoretically. BUT let’s go with the theory for a moment. Where does health information technology fit into this picture?
Historically, how much money you had and where you lived were barriers to affordable (or even any) healthcare. If mobile health were to become a reality, those barriers would disappear. But potential mobile health app developers start to run for the hills when they hear about HIPAA governmental regulations.
For those of you who are fortunate enough not to be familiar with this particular acronym, it stands for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” Despite the fact that it contains neither the word “information” nor “privacy,” this Act is all about the government protecting YOUR private health information… I’m sorry, I just needed to step away for a moment because I thought some government official from the National Security Agency was reading my latest email… But I’m sure I was mistaken (for more information about Google, Yahoo, and the NSA, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html). Anyway, HIPAA comes out of the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), which is an entirely different governmental agency. And it’s even located in an entirely different county than NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD.
But let’s put aside our cranky old jaded and cynical selves and believe that the HIPAA guidelines are only about protecting your private health information… which is a rather all around good idea. In a world where digital health startups either make it (or not) in 3-6 months, how can that be reconciled with the months and years it takes for the FDA to approve new medical advancements?
Representative Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, is trying to tackle that very issue (http://honda.house.gov/). He is introducing a new Bill into the House of Representatives that will reduce barriers for innovative health technology to go from conception to market. The Bill is entitled the “Health Care Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act of 2013” (http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-bill/2363). It’s being back by some pretty heavy hitters in telecommunication and wireless technology — Intel and QualComm… and I’m sure Sprint and Verizon will not be far behind (see Sprint Accelerator http://sprintaccelerator.com/ & Verizon’s 2014 predictions http://www.zdnet.com/verizons-2014-tech-predictions-for-the-enterprise-7000023472/).
It’s in the industry’s best interest that mobile health become widely available and highly profitable… and I just need a moment to give a shout out to Mike Honda for putting together a Democratic Bill that is about making more money for Fortune 500 companies. You’d think that Republicans would be all over this bill… but they’re not. They’re putting forth their own bill that will increase governmental regulations and stifle innovation.
At this point, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, what can I do to help the Health Care Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act of 2013 get out of committee and onto the Floor? Well, you can write your congressman! You say you don’t know who your congressman is? Just click this link for “Who is your representative” (http://whoismyrepresentative.com/) and in 3 clicks, you can write and send your very own email!
Go ahead, be part of the democratic process in action.
Julie Hope Goldberg, PhD