This past Saturday, I attended the Quinnipiac Health Law Journal’s “Primary Care and the Law Symposium” at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. The event ran from 9am to 3pm and featured three panels of accomplished leaders in the fields of healthcare and law in addition to a keynote address from Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer, president and principal founder of Primary Care Progress. An inaugural undertaking by Quinnipiac’s Health Law Journal, Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education, and schools of Law, Nursing, Medicine, and Health Sciences, there was a very good turnout and I’m confident that all of those in attendance left with an even greater interest in how the American healthcare system will shape up in the coming months and years.
CHC’s very own Margaret Flinter and Mark Masselli spoke on the first and third panels, respectively, and each contributed to intriguing discussions about what primary care is today and about innovations that have the potential to positively impact healthcare moving forwards. Panelists ranged from primary care practitioners to software engineers, executives at medical centers to attorneys, and each participant brought another layer of competence and expertise to the symposium that helped make it lively throughout.
Of personal interest was the presentation by an attorney who spoke about mobile medical devices, 1,000 of which are now being created every single month. The attorney – based out of a law firm in Washington D.C. – spent his allotted time explaining the vastly growing industry of medical applications (or “apps”) for portable phones and tablets and the types of regulations that these devices are potentially subject to. Organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are constantly renovating their review of mobile medical devices, and this has caused a bit of ambiguity in the information technology sector of healthcare. For instance, a software program on a smartphone that reads someone’s heart rate or takes their blood pressure is clearly a mobile medical device, but does it need to be analyzed by the FDA and/or other agencies before it is put to use? The biggest concern on the part of the FDA seems to be the possibility that an application that tests vital information malfunctions or delivers readings that lack the precision that is so critical to the patient. Estimates are that over 500 million smartphone users will be utilizing the services of a mobile health application by the year 2015 (Research to Guidance, 2010), and that figure grows daily.
The presentation I just described is one of the very many interesting conversations that took place during the Primary Care and the Law Symposium, and I would personally recommend that anyone who can make it to the next rendition of this event does so.
– Pat Wildes, HealthCorps Navigator
More information can be found at http://www.quinnipiac.edu/academics/colleges-schools–departments/school-of-law/student-life/journals/health-law-journal/primary-care-and-the-law-symposium-registration/.