The House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin its markup today of the 21st Century Cures Act, with opening statements by committee members late this afternoon and the proceedings continuing tomorrow morning. However, stakeholder opinions about the proposed legislation run the gamut from praise to outright condemnation regarding such hot-button technology issues as health information technology interoperability and telehealth.

A May 15 memo from the committee’s majority staff argues that the “ability to share research and clinical data is a cornerstone of our drive for new cures” and notes that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has led the charge in the area of HIT interoperability “but recently has identified barriers to nationwide interoperability of health technology.” Section 3001 of the draft bill, titled “Ensuring Interoperability,” is an attempt by Congress to “refocus national efforts on making systems interoperable and holding individuals responsible for blocking or otherwise inhibiting the flow of patient information throughout our healthcare system,” asserts the committee.

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