Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski announced this week that he expects the FCC to release two orders on mobile healthcare technologies (mHealth) by the end of the year.  This announcement relates to the release this week of a report by the mHealth Task Force that made a number of recommendations with respect to ways that federal agencies and industry players can advance “mobile health, wireless health, and e‐Care technologies that improve patient care and the efficiency of healthcare delivery.

In his statement, Chairman Genachowski said that the FCC will consider an order to “streamline our experimental licensing rules” in order to facilitate mHealth device testing, and will consider another order to reform the Rural Health Care Program, such as through permitting “networks of hospitals and health care facilities to jointly apply for program funds in order to boost broadband capacity and enable electronic health records.”  The Chairman also committed to take other related measures, including having the FCC’s International Bureau work with its counterparts in other countries on spectrum harmonization, so as to create economies of scale for device makers and to enable patients with mHealth devices to travel safely across borders.  Chairman Genachowski endorsed the mHealth Task Force’s goal of making mHealth technology a routine medical best practice within five years.

A fact sheet that summarizes the mHealth Task Force’s recommendations is available here.

The recent announcement by Chairman Genachowski follows steps taken earlier in the year to make additional spectrum available for wireless medical devices.  For more information on wireless spectrum for medical devices, see here.