On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission and FDA announced a partnership dedicated to promoting wireless-enabled telehealth devices, which the agencies said could improve health quality and reduce medical costs, The Hill's "Hillicon Valley" reports.
Wireless medical devices include remote monitoring systems and sensors that send text messages to a physician about changes in a patient's health status (Jerome, "Hillicon Valley," The Hill, 7/26).
Statement of Principles, Memorandum of Understanding
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and FCC Chair Julius Genachowski signed a joint statement of principles and a memorandum of understanding at the start of a two-day conference showcasing wireless medical devices.
According to the statement, health care providers, patients and other stakeholders "should have clear regulatory pathways, processes and standards to bring broadband and wireless-enabled medical devices to market" (Lewis, InformationWeek, 7/27).
The statement added that the two agencies should:
- Ensure the safety of wireless medical devices;
- Promote investment in wireless telehealth technology; and
- Streamline regulatory processes by clarifying each agency's scope of authority over wireless medical technology ("Hillicon Valley," The Hill, 7/26).
Fitting New Partnership Into Future Plans
During his address at the conference, Genachowski said innovators and investors need more direction as they develop and promote new wireless medical devices.
He added that FCC and FDA's new partnership will play a role in the implementation of FCC's National Broadband Plan, which was released in March. The plan describes various ways that wireless technology can improve health care quality (InformationWeek, 7/27).