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Allison Kwon supports Crowell Health Solutions, a strategic consulting firm affiliated with Crowell & Moring, to help clients pursue and deliver innovative alternatives to the traditional approaches of providing and paying for health care, including through digital health, health equity, and value-based health care. She is a health care policy consultant in the Washington, D.C. office.

On April 18, 2024, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) issued the Digital Healthcare Equity Framework (the Framework) to guide users and stakeholders to consider equity throughout the entire lifecycle when implementing digital healthcare solutions. AHRQ also released a separate implementation guide (the Guide) to outline best practices and examples to implement the Framework. The Framework’s guiding principles provide a clear purpose for the Framework and development of its domains while the separate Guide provides actionable steps on how to implement the Framework.

Digital healthcare developers and vendors, health systems, health plans, and clinical providers should review the Framework and Guide to assess equity during each phase of the digital healthcare lifecycle for digital health technologies. Specifically, the Framework recommends that these stakeholders should consider the Framework’s principles and recommendations to address the accessibility, purpose, security, privacy features, usability, and safety concerns applying to digital solutions.Continue Reading AHRQ Outlines Principles and Recommendations to Advance Digital Healthcare Equity

In recent years, organizations have been developing and using predictive models, which are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, for numerous use cases in clinical and health care settings, including to aid in clinical decision-making. Currently, healthcare AI systems and tools have both clinical and administrative applications, namely monitoring patients, recommending treatments, predicting health trajectories, recording clinical notes, optimizing operational processes, and supporting population health management.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and federal agencies have been developing policies to advance transparency and manage risks for the development and use of AI/ML-powered health care technologies. Most recently, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued regulations that addresses predictive models and health AI systems.Continue Reading Taking a Closer Look at ONC’s AI Transparency Regulations

On February 21, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a report to propose policy recommendations to revise the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) framework and ensure privacy protections for health data and information. In the report, Senator Cassidy highlights recent reports of breaches and violations of patients’ health data privacy and outlines several proposals to modernize the HIPAA framework and other privacy regulations.Continue Reading Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Issues Health Data Privacy Policy Recommendations

On February 8, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a quality standard memorandum (Memorandum) clarifying that hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) may transmit patient information and orders via text message under certain conditions. Although Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) continues to be the preferred method of order entry, healthcare team members are permitted to share patient information and orders among themselves through a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)-compliant secure texting platform (STP) in accordance with Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoPs). The Memorandum reverses CMS’s position in a January 2018 memorandum and is effective immediately.Continue Reading CMS Issues Guidance on HIPAA-Compliant Secure Texting Platforms

The ever-changing healthcare policy landscape will witness at the federal level regulatory changes driven by the need to transform healthcare delivery, quality and innovation. Looking forward in 2024, this summary examines a number of healthcare innovation topics that have seen significant policy activity in recent years and that are relevant to healthcare stakeholders, including providers, plans, electronic health record (EHR) vendors and health technology companies.

Stakeholders should use this summary to examine existing regulatory and compliance gaps, prepare their organizations to comply with forthcoming federal regulations, and keep apprised of federal funding opportunities. For more information on these policy developments, please contact the professionals listed below, or your regular Crowell contact.Continue Reading Healthcare Policy Developments to Watch in 2024

On January 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) Innovation Center announced that sickle cell disease (SCD) will be the first focus of the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Access Model, a model for eligible states and pharmaceutical manufacturers designed to improve Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to cell and gene therapies.Continue Reading CMS Innovation Center Announces Sickle Cell Disease Focus under Cell and Gene Therapy Access Model

On November 28, Crowell Health Solutions published a white paper outlining several policy recommendations to advance widespread adoption of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs). The white paper titled, “Advancing Adoption of Decentralized Clinical Trials: Rationale, Current State, and Policy Recommendations” examines the current environment on decentralized and hybrid clinical trials, including a discussion on benefits and challenges that DCTs may pose; existing legislation and regulation; and background on programs and policies that can be leveraged to support DCT adoption.Continue Reading Crowell Health Solutions Examines the Adoption of Decentralized Clinical Trials and Provides Policy Recommendations

On October 24, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), Health Canada, and the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”) jointly released a publication identifying five guiding principles for predetermined change control plans (“PCCP”) for machine learning-enabled medical devices (“MLMD Guiding Principles”).Continue Reading FDA Releases Predetermined Change Control Plans for Machine Learning-Enabled Medical Devices: Guiding Principles

On October 19, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final guidance entitled, “Enforcement Policy for Non-Invasive Remote Monitoring Devices Used to Support Patient Monitoring,” (the Final Guidance) to provide clarification on its enforcement policies and premarket review expectations for certain non-invasive remote monitoring devices used for patient monitoring at the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Specifically, the FDA will continue to allow most remote monitoring devices to be used in home settings and to allow certain hardware or software changes to allow for increased remote monitoring capabilities under enforcement discretion.Continue Reading FDA Issues Final Guidance on Enforcement Policy for Non-Invasive Remote Monitoring Devices Used to Support Patient Monitoring

On November 2, Crowell hosted an in-person roundtable discussion, featuring government officials, industry experts and other stakeholders, to discuss the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems and tools in the healthcare sector as well as the government’s role in regulating such technology. Policy makers, thought leaders, healthcare innovators, and business executives came together for a lively and engaging conversation. Continue Reading Crowell Presents “AI and Health Care: Perspectives from Policymakers and Movers in the Industry”