Legislator reintroduces bill to create FDA Office of Mobile Health

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) has reintroduced a legislative bill calling on Congress to establish and fund an Office of Wireless Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to an announcement from the congressman.

Ostensibly, the Office of Wireless Health would be tasked with regulating the growing number of mobile healthcare applications. Honda, who represents Silicon Valley, insists that such a new FDA office would help--not obstruct--innovation.

"New and emerging healthcare technologies are being developed every day, often with little support for their long-term reach," Honda said in a written statement. "This legislation seeks not only to improve healthcare delivery, but to ensure that our government agencies have the tools they need to encourage innovation.  With implementation of the Affordable Care Act just around the corner, this is a major step forward for both patients and providers."

Among other provisions, the Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act (HIMTA) is designed to "cultivate a predictable regulatory framework on wireless health issues, as well as develop an mHealth support program at the Department of Health and Human Services to help mobile health app developers conform to current privacy standards," states the announcement.  

Last year, Honda first submitted HIMTA to Congress that, in addition to creating an Office of Wireless Health at the FDA, also mandated the creation of a prize program to incentivize innovators to take risks when developing mHealth technologies. In December 2012, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health and other congressional subcommittees but no further legislative action was taken.

To learn more:
- read the announcement