Mobile healthcare innovation and benefit gains for patients and providers are tied to a clear legal framework for accessing confidential data. That's the message Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT/The App Association, shared with a congressional panel focused on the Internet of Things (IoT).
At the hearing, held by last week by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Reed (pictured) testified to the challenges facing mHealth tech innovation and the need for Congress to help eliminate obstacles so IoT technology and mHealth tools can move forward more quickly and efficiently while ensuring consumer privacy.
"As sensors become more sophisticated, so too, will the things in our lives--things that will help lower the cost of healthcare and ultimately improve patient outcomes. We need your help to ensure this future can be a reality for Americans who are eager to embrace connected health solutions," Reed told the committee.
ACT is also asking congressional leaders to support the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act, which the group believes is key for proper law enforcement data access.
The IoT hearing, Reed told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email interview, was a "significant" step by the federal government.
"Congress has come to realize that the Internet of Things will be a critical part of the way we all engage with technology," Reed said. "Washington is typically slow to grasp technological innovation, but the nation's capital has surely captured Silicon Valley's attention with its fixation on IoT."
He added that for the House committee, which has oversight of all U.S. law enforcement, as well as copyright, trademark and patent laws, "IoT is likely to be a staple of hearings and regulations moving forward."
The IoT hearing comes at a time when shareholders involved in mHealth are striving to drive new tools forward while security and data access remain prime concerns. Just last week, a BlackBerry security demonstration revealed how hospital IV infusion pumps' connectivity provide huge security risks; last Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned providers to stop using an infusion pump because of cybersecurity flaws.
In addition, a set of draft guidelines on responsible use of mobile health tools is being lobbied by a coalition that includes Microsoft, Vitality Institute and the University of California San Diego.
Morgan said the committee hearing and congressional focus on IoT is a good start to addressing other related technology challenges.
"I'd like to see Congress address widespread concerns about government access to cloud data. Specifically, updating the 1986 Electronic Communications Protection Act--with the inclusion of the LEADS Act--to reflect how our society has embraced the internet and mobile connectivity," he said.