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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Dec 17 2012   8:18PM GMT

Proposed bill will encourage healthcare innovation in the mHealth arena

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Grants, healthcare regulation, HR6626, mhealth

The Health Care Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act of 2012 (HIMTA), was introduced by Rep. Mike Honda of California. It is intended to encourage more innovation around telehealth and clarify some of the existing FDA regulations around wireless health, according to Honda’s office.

The bill intends to establish an mHealth application development program within the HHS that will enable mobile app developers to receive support and guidance around current privacy regulations. It also aims to ensure that developing applications are building around an approved security framework that will protect patient health records.

“As we continue to improve our health care system, technology can and should play a prominent role in achieving better care for Americans,” said Rep Honda in a release. “Investments, development, and adoption of technologies remain stagnant. Why have the principles of Silicon Valley, which I represent – competition, innovation, and entrepreneurship – not fully manifested themselves in the healthcare information technology space?  This bill gets us closer to that space.”

“Currently, our healthcare system works against small-to-large startup entrepreneurs with a multitude of barriers to entry,” continued Honda. “There is also a lack of an established marketplace for new technologies and a lack of trained workers to handle the implementation and use of these technologies. This bill begins to bridge these gaps.”

If the bill passes, it would provide loan guarantees to support eligible professionals (EPs) with the implementation of health information technologies within their organization. The guaranteed amounts are $250,000 for single qualified EPs or $500,000 for a single group of affiliated qualified EPs.

The bill would also grant funds to “eligible entities” that develop products which will enhance patients’ use of health information technology. The grants awarded will be $75,000 or less.

This bill provides several incentives to encourage health information exchange (HIE) and mHealth innovation. The bill will help provide resources for software developers to leverage when creating mobile health apps, though it’s not clear whether there will be regulations and controls around mobile apps.

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