In the News

A new bill (HR 3577) introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (R-Calif.) calls for increased use of digital health technologies in federal programs as part of an effort to reduce health care costs, MobiHealthNews reports.

Details of the Bill

The bill would create a 19-member panel, called the Commission on Health Care Savings Through Innovative Wireless Technologies.

The commission would include:

  • Three members appointed by the president;
  • Four appointed by the HHS secretary;
  • Four appointed by the Federal Communications Commission; and
  • Eight appointed by Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.

According to the bill, the commission would:

  • Collect and examine data on using new technologies to reduce health care costs; and
  • Recommend ways to integrate digital health into Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs.

The bill specifically mentions several types of "wireless health information technologies," including:

  • Patient-generated data;
  • Remote patient monitoring; and
  • Telehealth.

Under the bill, the commission's final report would be due within 18 months of its formation (Versel, MobiHealthNews, 12/2).

Support for the Bill

According to Peters' office, the bill is supported by:

  • The American Telemedicine Association;
  • Biocom and BayBio, two California life sciences associations;
  • The California Healthcare Institute;
  • Connect, an open-source software community for health information exchange; and
  • Qualcomm (Walker, U-T San Diego, 11/22).

Comments About Legislation

According to a release by Peters, the "federal government does a poor job of taking into account the cost-effectiveness of technological innovation over the long term when making budget projections."

The release adds, "This short-sighted process is a disincentive to innovation and harms the potential for technology to reduce the cost of providing health care."

The release states that wireless technologies have the potential to:

  • Improve patient outcomes;
  • Boost system efficiencies;
  • Cut down on unnecessary doctor and emergency department visits; and
  • Reduce health care costs over time (Peters release, 11/21).