Healthcare systems around the world are being challenged by aging populations, chronic illness and revolutionary—but expensive—treatments. Appropriate solutions are often not available to patients in need, while medical providers, academics and innovators often work independently or in small groups, with unconnected health datasets that provide incomplete pictures of the health statuses and health care practices of Americans.
While information technology (IT) products hold the promise of dramatically changing this situation and improving health care for those in need, current public policy is standing in the way. It’s time for Congress to change that.
Applying new information technology (IT) products and services, particularly data analytics, to healthcare, delivered when and where it is needed in a digestible manner, can help medical professionals access evidenced based medicine to deliver better treatments and accelerate the search for timely cures. Some of the potential outcomes include: faster treatments coming to market, aligned health care incentives—lowering costs for patients and providers (eliminating needless procedures), and a more efficient, patient-centered healthcare systems that enable a more comprehensive view of patient care across a variety of conditions and procedures.
Unfortunately, America’s broad regulatory approach is harming the development and application of a wide range of software supporting this evolution, threatening to delay or prevent the implementation of revolutionary healthcare solutions. There is significant confusion in the market about what technologies may be regulated, by which agencies, and to what standards. This uncertainty is standing in the way of myriad promising technologies that can help clinicians access more evidence-based medicine, provide patient populations with more individualized care, and generate better patient-caregiver-provider engagement.
This week, SIIA joined with dozens of technology providers, health organizations and trade associations urging Congress to pass legislation to provide much-needed statutory clarity and a stable foundation for continued innovation in health IT. Now is the time for Congress to give the green light to foster the necessary innovation to improve our Nation’s healthcare system and reducing costs. There is broad consensus on the need for a risk-based framework for health IT.
David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPubPolicy.