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Following FCC's impact on mHealth
Hats off to the FCC! In June 2012, the FCC convened a summit with industry leaders to discuss opportunities to accelerate the adoption and use of mobile health care technologies, and September 24, the FCC released its mHealth Task Force Findings and Recommendations. This is an incredibly quick turnaround with well thought out recommendations, in which the FCC boiled down key items as priorities, but did not attempt to "boil the ocean".
FCC Chairman Genachowski is determined to make the U.S. a leader in the mobile space and has committed to implementing selected items of the Findings and Recommendations outlining immediate next steps.
Having attended the session, I had the opportunity to ask the distinguished panel of mHealth Task Force Co-Chairs the following, "What is the #1 priority?", "What is the #1 barrier?", and "What is the #1 'low hanging fruit'?".
The most prolific response was from mHealth Task Force Co‐Chair, Julian Goldman, MD, "This is not about technology, but it is about improving the quality of healthcare", with additional thoughtful discussion from the other mHealth Task Force Co-Chairs, including the following: "Greatest Priority": Increase mobile broadband spectrum. "Greatest Barrier": Reimbursement, specifically both tele-health reimbursement barriers and the need for greater collaboration with CMS. However, there is the caveat that Stage 2 & 3 of meaningful use has the promise of remote monitoring and engagement of patient and families, which has the potential to accelerate reimbursement of mobile technology platforms. "Lowest Hanging Fruit": 1) Pilots have limited utility. Once a model is in place that works, it will be harnessed and embraced. Public/private partnerships will help quantify studies and identify models that are sustainable. 2) Goal 1 [FCC should continue to play a leadership role in advancing mobile health adoption] and its sub-goals [appoint an FCC Healthcare Director, improve educational outreach to healthcare organizations, FCC to launch a healthcare website, and continue to seek public input and further its engagement with the mHealth Task Force].
As the competition within the mobile industry continues to challenge the capacity of the wireless infrastructure, both here and abroad, policy will also be challenged as it has an ongoing battle to catch up to the ever expanding demands of consumer use. However, FCC's mHealth Task Force recommendations provide promise to the healthcare industry, and there is more to come...
This Friday (9/28), it is expected that the FCC will vote on how much is a fair share of the airwaves or spectrum (the radio frequencies used to transmit signals in wireless devices) that a single entity should have control over.
Grab your popcorn, and don't change the channel, as the suspense is building!
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