Bloomberg Health Care Summit on "Connecting Healthcare Policy with Next Century Innovation"

Earlier this week, the Bloomberg Government Health Care Summit appropriately named "Mind the Gap: Connecting Healthcare Policy with Next Century Innovation", was held in Washington, D.C. It was convened to discuss perspectives of healthcare innovators, medical professionals, and government officials who are helping to redesign U.S. healthcare during a time of innovation. About 150 healthcare industry representatives were in attendance. One of our Open Health News (OHN) correspondents was there.

The first panel was on "Health Care Reimagined", focusing on advancements in technology that are reinventing care delivery, reducing medical expenses, and making preventive care more efficient and accessible for patients across the globe. One of the panelists was former Apple CEO, John Sculley.

He spoke about changes happening in healthcare from consumers adopting mobile health (mHealth),  interacting with one's personal health data in real time, electronic health records (EHR), wearable health sensors, personal health records (PHR), open data, and 'big data' analytics.

When asked how will people sort though all the different choices of mHealth apps and devices, he explained that it will be left to the market to sort out.  Sculley has said, "Companies that figure out how to make the connections without overwhelming the consumer with technical minutiae and for the right price will win."  See previous interview with Sculley posted on VentureBeat.

The second panel was on the "21st Century Health Care Landscape".  Due to increased collaboration by researchers across previously separated disciplines along with the proliferation of big data and technological advancements, patients have the information to take the future of their health into their own hands. Panelists discussed how patients in the 21st century patient will navigate the new health care environment.

The keynote speaker at the Summit was Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Federal Drug Administration (FDA). She covered a wide variety of issues, from the FDA Safety Information Act to the enormous advances taking place in science and technology. She also covered the topics of product safety, funding issues, genomics and drug development, and the role of cell phones in medical care as a medical device.

On the topic of mobile health (mHealth),Dr. Hamburg mentioned that FDA is trying to take a more balanced, risk based approach to regulating mobile apps. The FDA will need to take action when people are mislead about what an mHealth app actually can do.

The Commissioner also talked about the challenges of globalization - about the increasing demand for FDA regulation of products coming from more than 150 different countries; complex supply chains of products coming in from more than 300 ports of entry; and the challenges this poses to FDAs already stretched resources.

Dr. Hamburg pointed out that Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems present an opportunity for the FDA.  The transformation this is bringing to the doctors office enables the FDA to do more post market surveillance. New systems going into place could ultimately enhance FDAs ability to communicate with doctors about the safety of drugs and products at the point of care. She talked further about the FDA more directly engaging with patients.

Other issues she touched upon included:

  • perceptions of  'conflict of interest' because many industry experts who are brought in to evaluate and approve new products are often the experts who helped to develop the product.
  • accelerated approval of drugs based on their early indication of effectiveness combined with ongoing surveillance in a more dynamic way than just a few years ago.

Find out about other upcoming Bloomberg Government events at

Authors: Peter Groen & Marc Wine