Earlier today, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) reintroduced the Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act (HIMTA). The legislation will foster innovation and modernize the nation's healthcare delivery system through the development of marketplace incentives, grants, and increased workforce retraining.
The bill establishes an Office of Wireless Health at the Food and Drug Administration to cultivate a predictable regulatory framework on wireless health issues, as well as develop an mHealth support program at the Department of Health and Human Services to help mobile health app developers conform to current privacy standards. Additionally, the legislation creates a challenge grant program to encourage risk-taking and new IT approaches, creates a low-interest small business loan program for clinics purchasing new healthcare services, and establishes two-year grants to assist employee retraining in new positions that use health information technology.
Alice Borrelli, Director of Global Healthcare Policy at Intel Corporation, had this to say regarding Rep. Honda's leadership on the issue: "Congressman Honda is taking a comprehensive view of the value of health IT and how the many different solutions -- ranging from telehealth to physician tablets to portable EKGs -- give clinicians, patients, and caregivers new tools to impact our health at reduced costs. We applaud the Congressman's leadership in advancing better health and better health systems."
Similarly, Robert Jarrin, Senior Director for Government Affairs at Qualcomm, commented on the reintroduction of HIMTA: "At Qualcomm, we believe that mobile communications will help overcome some of the challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system. By constantly developing new and innovative wireless communication technologies, we strive to make all types of systems -- including those in healthcare -- more accessible, affordable, and effective. Qualcomm applauds Congressman Honda and is grateful that he understands the principles we value -- competition, invention, and entrepreneurship."
Rep. Honda recently spoke at the MedCity ENGAGE conference on the necessity of transforming the doctor-patient relationship through technology -- with the HIMTA legislation a major focus.
Remarked Rep. Honda on the introduction of his bill: "New and emerging healthcare technologies are being developed every day, often with little support for their long-term reach. This legislation seeks not only to improve healthcare delivery, but to ensure that our government agencies have the tools they need to encourage innovation. With implementation of the Affordable Care Art just around the corner, this is a major step forward for both patients and providers."