In June, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) created a mHealth Task Force from a group of the nation’s leading mobile healthcare IT industry, including government and academic experts, according to a recent press release. This group generated a report with recommendations on mHealth technology use, released on Sept. 24.
The document is written for a federal and regulatory audience more so than the consumer or business-based mobile health IT organization. However, each recommendation will eventually affect the producers and consumers alike of mobile health IT by virtue of federal reform, so it’s important to stay educated and informed in mHealth policy as it evolves.
The first goal that the task force decided on was that the FCC should play a leadership role in advancing mobile health adoption. A few of the main supporting recommendations included:
Other recommendations included a push for more collaborative efforts between federal agencies to uniformly regulate and guide the mHealth industry, as well as strive to improve health IT in areas that require it:
The task force also calls on the FCC to improve their Rural Health Care Program by providing functionality at the lowest cost. They recommend modernizing the Lifeline program that ensures the availability of broadband service for low-income consumers, a program that helps with healthcare provider-patient care.
Community input is highlighted by the task force as valuable – they recommend the FCC should solicit input from the medical community to figure out how to support the transmission of medical images and video communication. Apparently, healthcare facilities are currently using image disks to import data from thousands of patient-provided image disks on a yearly basis. The call for a national IT infrastructure to support these needs is emphasized.
One solution that may help with the need for storage-intensive applications and medical imaging data is a high-capacity, HIPAA compliant cloud. With a fully managed SAN (Storage Area Network), a high-capacity cloud is scalable to grow to fit data storage needs. To ensure compliance can be maintained in the cloud, data centers and hosting providers should also undergo an audit to meet HIPAA compliance and sign a business associate agreement. Find out which questions to ask your HIPAA hosting provider in our HIPAA Hosting white paper.
In step with integrating third-party devices and software solutions, the task force also calls for secure and trusted application interfaces (API’s) for health information exchange and data services in order to solve cost, risk and ongoing maintenance issues that serve as barriers to health IT investments.
The report is a good first pass at documenting what needs to be done just to start managing the industry, but I expect a more polished and detailed mHealth plan to emerge in the near future.
Online Tech will be exhibiting our HIPAA hosting solutions at the 2012 mHealth Summit, hosted by mHIMSS, in Washington, D.C. from December 3-5. Join us for three days of sessions on BYOD, mobile health apps, analytics, policy and regulatory environments and more, and visit us at Booth #1031. Visit the event page for more details and how to register.
Download our HIPAA Compliant Hosting white paper now for a complete guide to HIPAA hosting with IT vendors. With 36 pages of statistics, diagrams and researched information sourced from engineers and a CHSS (Certified HIPAA Security Specialist), this white paper is your complete guide to HIPAA hosting.
mHealth Task Force: Findings and Recommendations – Pre-Publication Public Draft (PDF)
mHealth Task Force to Release Findings and Recommendations to Accelerate Accessibility and Adoption of Mobile Healthcare in the United States
Otava provides the secure, compliant hybrid cloud solutions demanded by service providers, channel partners and enterprise clients in compliance-sensitive industries. By actively aggregating best-of-breed cloud companies and investing in people, tools, and processes, Otava’s global footprint continues to expand. The company provides its customers in highly regulated disciplines with a clear path to transformation through its effective solutions and broad portfolio of hybrid cloud, data protection, disaster recovery, security and colocation services, all championed by an exceptional support team. Learn more at www.otava.com.