Gingrich moves away from electronic health records

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The candidate's campaign did not respond to several requests for comment.

Gingrich told The Hill in August that he had a three-pronged strategy to carry out his vision of making the human brain the next frontier in science. He called for the development of a 21st century Food and Drug Administration; changing the tax structure to reward innovators by eliminating the capital gains tax and repealing regulatory burdens; and creating a freestanding "brain science institute" that would be tasked with creating public-private partnerships "to maximize the rate of evolution of new knowledge and get it to the patient quickly."

Electronic health records should be a central part of the FDA overhaul, he said at the time.

Thanks to them, Gingrich told The Hill, "you can have much faster approval times because you can monitor in real time everyone who uses the drug. And if you start getting inappropriate responses, you can change within weeks." 

The initiative announced Wednesday makes no mention of electronic medical records. According to Gingrich's campaign, the initiative consists of four components: 

• A public-private research initiative to map the brain and maximize our understanding of how it works and what effects it; 

• A fundamentally reformed, 21st century Food and Drug Administration that has the mission of understanding emerging new science and accelerating its development from the laboratory to the patient; 

• The elimination of the capital gains tax so hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments pour into the United States, creating a generation of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in founding and growing companies that deliver brain-related medical treatments worldwide; and 

• Developing an integrated public-private partnership to use new technologies to minimize the stress of caregiving and maximize the potential for independent living for those with brain disorders.

"Maximizing brain science breakthroughs can offer hope to millions of Americans impacted by Alzheimer's, autism, Parkinson's, traumatic brain injuries and more, while potentially saving trillions of dollars and creating thousands of new American jobs," Gingrich said in a statement Wednesday. "There is no single reform that could lower the cost of Medicare and Medicaid on the scale that breakthroughs in brain science could."

Back in August, he acknowledged that such grand ideas would be a tough sell in Washington's deficit-cutting climate.

"Initially, they'll be rejected," Gingrich said. "Let's be clear: This is not a city that likes innovation; it's not a city that likes to think deeply. It's a city that memorizes a handful of phrases and uses them in nine-second sound bites."