What should Congress do to help medical innovation?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to hold a second roundtable meeting next Tuesday with stakeholders to talk about what Congress should and should not do to encourage medical innovation.

The committee said it plans to hold the hearing on June 24 and released a report outlining the kinds of questions it is looking answers.


The report states medical innovation is moving very rapidly and offers potential in terms of aggregating large amounts of health records to look for disease trends.

It also says new technology to help detect certain genetic markers long before a patient becomes ill and new mobile applications can help cater treatments to an individual.

However, the committee notes these new technologies raise certain questions about how to legislate and regulate the medical industry.

“New technology and data can shift our health care system from a reactive one defined largely by its silos into a predictive and integrated care continuum,” the report says. “To fully and responsibly achieve this goal, Congress must carefully consider how patient privacy may be affected by broader aggregation and more detailed data analysis.”

Specifically, the committee asks whether using new technologies to aggregate large amount of medical data can infringe on the privacy of individual patients, and whether healthcare providers have sufficient safeguards to prevent that from happening.

The committee held a similar hearing last month where they asked patients about their experiences with the healthcare system, clinical trials and for suggestions on how to spur medical innovation.