Last Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing, “Telehealth to Digital Medicine: How 21st Century Technology Can Benefit Patients,” to explore how technology can be harnessed to advance the U.S health care system and improve patient care.  The purpose of the hearing was to (1) begin a discussion on the types of technologies that hold promise for the future of the health care system, (2) explore the positive and negative implications of adopting such technologies, and (3) identify targeted ways that such technologies could help transform the quality and improve the delivery of health care in the U.S.

During the hearing, the subcommittee heard from health care industry leaders on the forefront of adopting various telehealth technologies as well as public health and health care policy experts.  The witnesses universally supported the use of technology as increasing patient access to health care and enabling health care providers to more effectively manage individual patients and patient populations.

The hearing was a first step in finding ways the federal government can support technology adoption for the purpose of reducing costs and increasing the overall quality and efficiency of U.S. health care programs.  The subcommittee is now seeking input and feedback from all stakeholders and the public on specific policy and legislative ideas. All ideas should be sent to by June 16, 2014.  Telemedicine platform developers, insurers, providers, and patients should all consider using this unique opportunity to guide the development and implementation of technology to improve patient care and transform the delivery of health care in the U.S.