FDAnews Device Daily Bulletin

SENATE PASSES HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION

Dec. 5, 2005
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The medical device industry praised the Senate's recent passage of a health information technology (HIT) bill that creates financial incentives and interoperability standards for the widespread adoption of the technology in healthcare settings.

The Wired for Health Care Quality Act of 2005, S. 1418, addresses key barriers to the adoption of HIT, according to the medical device trade group AdvaMed. "We applaud the Senate for its commitment to improving patient care," said Stephen Ubl, president of AdvaMed. "The interoperability standards and financial incentives in the bill will go a long way to encourage and support the adoption and use of health information technology, and resources that will ensure the quality and safety of care."

Sponsored by Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), the legislation now goes before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Among other things, the bill codifies the HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The legislation also authorizes the HHS secretary to award competitive grants to eligible entities to facilitate the purchase and enhance the use of qualified health information technology systems.

While HIT initiatives focus on the creation of electronic health records, AdvaMed has been pushing to ensure that medical devices also are included in such initiatives. HIT includes computerized devices such as infusion pumps that can monitor drug delivery, computer-assisted surgery methods that allow physicians to precisely position medical instruments, and remote monitoring capabilities via telemedicine, AdvaMed said.

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