New Bill Spurs mHealth, HIT Innovation

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Congressman Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that aims to foster more innovation and support of mobile health and health information technology in the healthcare industry.

The Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act removes barriers in wireless health, focuses on the development of new technology and creates a marketplace for innovation and workforce retraining.

The bill establishes an Office of Wireless Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that will coordinate with other governmental agencies and the privacy industry to provide recommendations on how to develop and maintain a regulatory framework on wireless health issues. An mHealth developer support program will also be developed at HHS under the bill. The program will help mobile application developers build their devices in line with current privacy regulations, according to the release.

The bill mandates the creation of a prize program and small innovator challenge grants to incentivize risk-taking in mobile health. In order to combat the common barrier of capital funding for health IT, the bill creates a low-interest small business loan program to aid smaller physician offices in purchasing health IT technologies. It also creates a tax-incentive program, allowing providers to deduct costs related to non-electronic health record health IT.

Finally, the bill focuses on workforce retraining by establishing two-year grants to assist providers in retaining employees in new positions that use health IT.  

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