Tech Companies Pitch Telehealth Priorities

Gary Shapiro
CTA president Gary Shapiro (Image credit: CTA)

Consumer technology companies have some advice for using tech to better prepare for the next pandemic and generally mitigate health inequities.

The recommendations were the work product of tech companies, health systems, medical device manufacturers, insurance companies, public policy organizations and medical societies.

“The pandemic demonstrated the undeniable value of innovation and tech in the face of a health crisis,” said Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro said. “Many digital health tools that have proven effective in response to the pandemic are still not accessible to many. American lawmakers have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from this crisis and ensure we’re providing every American access to quality care in the digital age.”

Accessibility was a key policy recommendation and will be one of the topics of conversation at the CTA‘s CES in Las Vegas in January.

Following are the key policy recommendations from the two papers:

1) “Federal and state governments should expand broadband coverage to ensure it reaches rural and underserved areas.

2.) “Congress should make select Medicare telehealth COVID-19 Public Health Emergency waivers and flexibilities permanent.

3.) “Congress should pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation specifically covering stakeholders not covered by other privacy laws and regulations regimes (e.g., HIPAA).

4.) “The federal government should partner with industry stakeholders to develop evidence-based guidelines and industry standards for digital health.

5.) “The federal government should establish a national early warning system based on aggregated data from digital tools capable of identifying disease hotspots.

6.) “State and local governments should consider requiring hospitals and health systems to routinely assess a patient’s ability to access digital services and their digital literacy.

7.) “Federal, state, and local governments should develop a network of digital hubs that can train, educate, and support patients and healthcare providers in using various digital health solutions.

8.) “Public and private insurers must prioritize the use of digital health tools to track and manage conditions and treat patients."

The CTA should have an eager audience in the House Communications Subcommittee, which approved a bill that tries to leverage broadband to address inequitable maternal health outcomes on the same day the trade group released two white papers with telehealth recommendations.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.