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A New Step in Promoting Safety and Innovation in Healthcare IT

by: Matthew Quinn, Director of FCC Health Care Initiatives

September 6, 2013

The FCC is committed to accelerating the adoption and innovation of health information technology (health IT) through wired and wireless broadband.  Health IT tools such as electronic health records, mobile health applications and mobile body area networks (MBANS) hold great potential to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

The Commission has worked closely with federal partners like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to achieve these goals.

Last year, Congress called for the FDA to work with FCC and ONC to provide recommendations for a regulatory framework for health IT that promotes safety and innovation and reduces regulatory duplication. Specifically, this call for recommendations was called for in section 618 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, otherwise known as FDASIA.

Earlier this week, we achieved an important milestone. A working group of ONC's federal advisory committee released its recommendations on this framework: The Path Toward a Risk-Based Regulatory Framework for Health IT. The workgroup, which included participation from the FCC, formed to obtain broad stakeholder input from across the health care, IT, patients and innovation spectrum. Our three agencies were active participants in these discussions and learned a great deal from them.

The FCC looks forward to continuing to work with FDA and ONC to develop final recommendations to Congress by January 2014.

To learn more about FCC's healthcare initiatives, please visit www.fcc.gov/health. Launched late last year, the site serves as a central repository for all the FCC’s health care-related work.  For the first time in one place, you can find links and information to each of the FCC’s health programs, as well as instructions on how to submit comment and get involved with the FCC.  We hope this continues be a valuable resource for industry, policymakers, and anyone who wants to learn more about our programs.

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