The House Energy and Commerce Committee is seeking public comment on a white paper released June 17 regarding potential digital and personalized healthcare technologies intended to enable 21st Century cures.

The aim of the committee is to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle to get promising new treatments and cures to patients more quickly. “We are committed to making sure our legal and regulatory framework fosters the development of such a digital healthcare ecosystem and allows it to serve as a catalyst for the discovery, development, and delivery of new treatments and cures for patients,” states the white paper. “We are not there yet. The committee seeks guidance about how this vision can become a reality and what role Congress can play in the process.”

The paper highlights a laundry list of technologies including data analytics, genomics, health IT, and mobile medical apps, among others. In particular, the committee calls out the critical role that “large scale analysis and predictive modeling of big data” can play in providing patients with more personalized prevention or treatment options based on their unique set of circumstances.

“Increased data sharing through electronic health records, clouds, and other platforms can better inform healthcare delivery but can also lead to new research and discovery,” according to the white paper. “To fully realize the potential of big data and the benefits of innovative new technologies, such tools and the information they contain must be able to communicate and work together.”

The committee is interested in hearing from healthcare stakeholders about the legal and commercial barriers that prevent these technologies from being used on a larger scale at both the point of care and for additional research and development activities, and what role Congress should play in addressing them.

Committee members also wonder if existing systems to address privacy and informed consent are sufficient to protect individual patient interests, while facilitating the type of information exchange necessary to ensure the right treatments are prescribed and the best care is provided.

The committee will host its second 21st Century Cures roundtable on June 24 to discuss next steps Congress can take to bridge the gap between these technological advances and the regulatory policies that govern them. Stakeholders have until July 22 to provide feedback on the committee’s white paper via email to cures@mail.house.gov. Comments submitted to the committee will be made publicly available on its energycommerce.house.gov/cures landing page.

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