Washington, D.C. – The Research and Technology Subcommittee today held the first congressional hearing to explore the development of mobile applications (apps) and wearable technologies for monitoring, diagnosing, and tracking disease and medical conditions. The witnesses provided an overview of various apps designed to help individuals with specific health concerns, such as various types of cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy, as well as an app to identify lower-cost healthcare options based on the patient’s health insurer.

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.): “The rapid growth of this game-changing technology is a reflection of the ingenuity of app designers, and the market of consumers ready, willing and able to take advantage of what technology has to offer in order to be more involved in improving our healthcare. This new revolution in technology can and should open up a new revolution in all of us being personally engaged and responsible about our healthcare.  I’m excited we can now put more control of our healthcare into our own hands.”

In less than a decade, apps have become ubiquitous, since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. The wearable and healthcare app market continues to grow rapidly. Healthcare apps have the potential to revolutionize medicine and help empower users to be active participants in managing their health as well as bring down costs. However, a number of barriers hinder some apps from being used more broadly, including regulatory systems, data security and privacy, and reimbursement issues.

Witnesses today said that despite these barriers, many healthcare providers, app developers, and consumers believe the benefits of these apps are worth the risks and regulatory hurdles.

By 2017, 50 percent of smartphone users are expected to have downloaded mobile health apps and the total mobile health market revenue is expected to reach $26 billion.

The following witnesses testified today:

Mr. Morgan Reed, Executive Director, The App Association

Dr. Bryan F. Shaw, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University

Mr. Howard Look, President, CEO and Founder, Tidepool

Dr. Gregory Krauss, Professor of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Mr. Jordan Epstein, CEO & Founder, Stroll Health


For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.