Health IT

Feds propose streamlined strategy for health IT

health data

The federal government wants to carve out some areas of health IT that don't require oversight by the Food and Drug Administration, while making sure medical devices and other areas that directly affect patient health and safety remain subject to regulation.

A new report from the FDA, the Federal Communications Commission and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) proposes a "risk based" approach to health IT that gives developers latitude to build computer applications for health records and capturing patient data without the long lead times and trials that accompany FDA approval. Under the proposed system, the FDA would focus on device functionality, including computer-aided detection systems and alarms that alert caregivers to changes in a patient's condition.

The proposed approach is part of an overall strategy to help provide more regulatory clarity to the growing medical IT industry and to encourage firms to focus on standard-setting, interoperability and best practices in the development of health IT to improve data portability and the more efficient delivery of care.

In particular, the report recommends that industry stakeholders establish some method of testing, validating and certifying the interoperability of health care IT systems and devices. Additionally, the government wants to see some performance verification to rate the quality and safety of health IT products. This function could be split among private sector and government bodies, depending on whether an assessment is "critical to assuring the safety and health of consumers," per the report.

Finally, the agencies advocate the creation of a Health IT Safety Center, a new public-private entity that would serve as a clearinghouse for best practices, governance, and information sharing. While the report isn't binding, the agencies are seeking more input from industry on privacy and security issues arising from creating a new quasi-regulatory body.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    Shutterstock photo id 669226093 By Gorodenkoff

    The disinformation game

    The federal government is poised to bring new tools and strategies to bear in the fight against foreign-backed online disinformation campaigns, but how and when they choose to act could have ramifications on the U.S. political ecosystem.

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.