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Devices, Inv. No. 337-TA-796 Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Dear United States International Trade Commission Secretary: Health IT Now respectfully submits these comments in response to the Notice of Commission Decision to Review in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337; Request for Written Submissions issued by the United States International Trade Commission in the matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, Inv. No. 337-TA-796 on May 28, 2013. Health IT Now is a diverse coalition of health care providers, patient advocates, consumers, employers and payers who support the adoption and use of health IT to lower costs while improving quality, safety, and clinical outcomes. The comments in this letter reflect those of Health IT Now, and not necessarily those of our individual members. Health IT Now is concerned about the future implications of the Commission’s ruling in ITC case 337-TA-796. If the Commission rules in favor of the petitioner and delivers a broad exclusion order, the future import of products like mobile health technologies will be constrained. Such a decision will limit access to mobile health technologies for clinics, hospitals and front line healthcare providers while jeopardizing the welfare of millions of Americans that rely on innovative technologies to manage and gain access to care. . Health IT Now believes mobile technology holds great potential to benefit patients through improved healthcare outcomes, greater access to care and lower costs. We appreciate the opportunity to provide comments to the Commission on this important issue. . A. RULING IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER WILL NEGATIVELY IMPACT THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF AMERICANS Thanks to advancements in broadband capabilities and smartphone technology, mobile healthcare, or mHealth, is changing the way medical professionals and patients engage in care. Healthcare providers are increasing productivity and efficiency by finding new ways to utilize mobile broadband technology to diagnose, treat and monitor their patients, and patients are novel means to more proactively manage their treatment. Doctors are using smartphones and tablets to better collect, analyze and utilize important medical data that would otherwise be more time consuming. Rather than rely on a small number of stationary, hardwired computers, doctors and clinicians around the country are turning to mobile broadband technology. Doctors are now able to carry tablet computers that fit in their coat pocket wherever they 1
go, allowing them to have access to their patients’ chart, instantly look up diagnostic information, check for potentially harmful drug interactions and research possible conditions that may be affecting their patient, no matter where they are. Mobile broadband capabilities are particularly helpful to doctors practicing medicine in underserved areas like rural Louisiana or inner-city Brooklyn. Underfunded hospitals do not have the same library of information that state-of-the-art hospitals like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or The Mayo Clinic have readily available. Doctors practicing in underserved areas may use their broadband devices to videoconference with specialists or clinical experts across the country or remotely access catalogs to learn life-saving emergency procedures. What’s more, Emergency Medical Technicians and other first responders are able to use mobile broadband devices when arriving on the scene of a 911 call. In addition to using the devices for diagnostic tests and research, they may also send vital information to doctors who are awaiting their arrival in the Emergency Room. An exclusion order that is broad in scope and limits future innovations in mHealth capabilities will slow the adoption of life-saving healthcare technology, promote suboptimal care, and put countless patients at risk. B. CONSUMERS WILL BE LEFT WITH FEWER AFFORDABLE OPTIONS, LIMITING ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES A ruling in favor of the petitioner that limits future imports of mobile broadband devices would immediately limit the public’s access to important mobile health information and technology. As the variety of affordable mobile broadband devices increase in the market, more and more patients are utilizing mHealth capabilities. Thanks to 4G smartphones, doctors and patients now have the ability to video conference from anywhere that has wireless broadband service. This is particularly important to homebound seniors and rural Americans who may live hours from the nearest hospital. It is equally important for low income households who may not have access to reliable transportation and who cannot afford to have a parent take a day off from work to spend at the doctor’s office. Thanks to a thriving mobile medical app market, individuals may now monitor an array of health conditions, from Diabetes to high blood pressure, by using their smartphone. The programs collect data and periodically send it to the patient’s doctor, allowing them to be in constant contact and foresee potential health issues before they become more severe. Access to these services is critical to countless Americans. Reducing the number of affordable devices that are capable of providing these services will create an environment where only those individuals who can afford it will be able to access the benefits of mHealth through certain devices. Health IT Now believes that advancements in information technology, particularly in mHealth capabilities, will lead to a healthier America, and that issuing a broad ranging exclusion order would hinder that growth. The Coalition thanks the Commission for opening a public comment period on this 2
issue. We respectfully request that the Commission consider the points outlined in this letter and deliver a thoughtful ruling that will allow for widespread access to life-saving mHealth services in the United States. Respectfully,
Joel White Health IT Now 750 9th Street, NW Suite 750 Washington, D.C. 20001 Submitted to: United States International Trade Commission Office of the Secretary 500 E Street SW Washington, DC 20436