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HIMTA - Take II: Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Wireless Health

Representative Mike Honda, [D-CA17] is reintroducing the Health Care Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act (HIMTA). This legislation outlines creative approaches to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the health information technology sector. The goal of the bill is to enable healthcare innovation in the budding connected care industry by providing tax incentives, loan guarantees, grants and improving federal coordination efforts. Each of these mechanisms would help the increasingly large segment of small entrepreneurs interested in developing novel health information technologies through mobile devices. Medical care providers would also benefit via tax deductions should they utilize health information technologies other than electronic health records (EHR).

The bill also seeks to establish an Office of Wireless Health Technology within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which would analyze recommendations on ways to make existing regulations more reasonable and predictable. This FDA office would coordinate with other federal agencies involved in the regulation of wireless health technology and provide information to the public on how to produce these technologies in accordance with existing law. This would help the entire health IT industry, from start-up entrepreneurs to large companies.

It is no secret where I stand on the need for regulatory clarity in a rapidly evolving health information technology landscape – particularly in the area of mobile health (mHealth). This past March, I was honored to be invited to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives, Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee where my testimony made the case for consistency, predictability and transparency by coordinating internal and external efforts through a single dedicated office within FDA. Innovators, app developers and other entrepreneurs would greatly benefit if the agency were to consolidate its wireless health efforts in one place. Such an office could also serve to profile external facing resources that could lend expertise and guidance on medical device regulations and policies as they relate to wireless health.

At Qualcomm, we believe that mobile communications will help to overcome some of the challenges facing the US 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 Representative Honda and is grateful that he understands the principles we value – competition, invention and entrepreneurship.

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