Reps. Question FCC's Regulation of Wireless Medical Devices

On Monday, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter asking the Government Accountability Office to review whether the Federal Communications Commission is effectively identifying the possible risks posed by wireless medical devices, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 8/16).

In their letter, the House Energy and Commerce Committee members expressed concern about the safety, security and reliability of wireless medical devices. They cited a recent presentation at a Las Vegas conference in which a computer analyst demonstrated that it is possible to hack into wireless medical devices, including pacemakers, intravenous pumps and blood pressure cuffs (Smith, "Tech Daily Dose," National Journal, 8/15).

Eshoo and Markey asked whether FCC is working to improve regulatory processes to ensure that wireless medical devices do not interfere with other health care equipment. They also questioned whether the commission is collaborating with FDA on its oversight activities (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 8/15).

The Democratic lawmakers wrote, "In bringing forward innovative wireless technologies and devices for health care, it's critical that these devices are able to operate together and with other hospital equipment, and not interfere with each other's activities and data transmissions. It's also important that such devices operate in a safe, reliable, and secure manner" ("Tech Daily Dose," National Journal, 8/15).

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