House Hearings on Health IT Scheduled to Explore Regulation of Mobile Technology

House Committee Hearings on Health IT and Mobile AppsThree Day Hearing on Health IT to Explore Potential Regulations and Taxes on Smartphones, Tablets and Mobile Apps

The Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The E&C is responsible for our nation’s telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce. It also oversees independent agencies include HHS, the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On Tuesday the E&C announced the Subcommittees on Communications and Technology, Health, and Oversight and Investigations will hold a series of hearing on health IT from March 19-21.

The E&C hearings will discuss the critical role of technology in the health care industry, and specifically mobile technology. The hearings follow a letter sent by committee leaders on March 1, 2013 to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg seeking more information on possible FDA regulation of smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps. In the letter lawmakers questioned whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA),  which was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, could allow the FDA to define smartphones and tablets with health-related apps as “medical devices” and therefore levy new taxes on developers and smartphone makers. Next week’s hearings will in part could determine how the FDA will  regulate medical apps affecting app developers, patients and providers. The hearings will be webcast at the following website:

Timeline of the hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 19 – The technology subcommittee will meet with app developers to discuss how consumers use existing health and fitness apps
  • Wednesday, March 20 – The health subcommittee will examine how health care practitioners and patients use health apps for diagnoses
  • Thursday, March 21 – The oversight and investigation subcommittee will hear testimony from both FDA and HHS officials

Read more about the upcoming E&C hearings on health it and mobile health technology.