Federal Government Requests Information on Interoperability Between Medical Devices, Data, and Platforms.

NITRD logo

The NITRD Health Information Technology Research and Development Interagency Working Group (HITRD IWG) requests input to collect information on new approaches from industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations, to solve the interoperability issues between medical devices, data, and platforms.

Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the Federal Register on or before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on March 15, 2019.

The Government anticipates hosting a conference in June/July 2019 to allow for additional engagement. The results of the conference discussion, in addition to the written responses to this RFI, will be used to determine next steps in addressing federal efforts in interoperability of data, platforms, and medical devices. This RFI is solely issued to engage with interested parties to inform the Government on developing a strategy for medical device, data, and platform interoperability. The Government will not reimburse costs associated with participating in the conference. The Government may contact respondents regarding their submissions, such as to ask questions, to learn more, or to notify them of further developments related to the effort.

Artificial Intelligence Executive Order Released by the White House

WH boilerplateAs expected the President signed an executive order on artificial intelligence on February 11, 2019.  Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence is centered around maintaining U.S. leadership in research and development and technological superiority in A.I. with a nod toward workforce development and guidance for regulation of certain A.I. applications.

The E.O. is high-level and the language used is very general and broad.  No specific R&D budget recommendations or program directions are made, nor are any federal research agencies given leadership roles.  The order calls on federal science agencies to prioritize AI within their FY 2020 budget requests (which should be close to final at this point) and within existing FY 2019 amounts, despite the fiscal year being nearly half over and final 2019 funds still not approved by Congress.

The document sets out key objectives for sustaining U.S. preeminence in artificial intelligence technology.   These include:  promoting sustained investment in AI R&D; enhanced access to high-quality and fully traceable Federal data, models, and computing resources;  reducing barriers to the use of AI technologies to promote their application while protecting U.S. economic and national security, civil liberties, privacy, and values; ensuring technical standards minimize vulnerability to attacks from malicious actors and maintain innovation, public trust, and public confidence in AI systems; and development of the next generation of American AI researchers and users through apprenticeships; skills programs; and education in STEM fields with an emphasis on computer science.

The E.O. also calls for an action plan to protect the advantage of the United States in AI and technology critical to United States economic and national security interests against strategic competitors and foreign adversaries.



Executive Order Outlining U.S. A.I. Strategy to be Unveiled

Several media outlets are reporting that the Trump Administration will issue an executive order on artificial intelligence strategy as soon as today — Monday, February 11th. According to the New York Times, the order does not set aside funds for A.I. research and development, and there are few details on how any new policies will be put into effect. More information on the new order will be posted as it becomes available.

HHS Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for the Health Industry

doctor-cyberattackOn Friday, December 28, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released:  “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” [PDF]. The publication, aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems.

The industry-led effort was in response to a mandate set forth by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 Section 405(d), to develop practical cybersecurity guidelines to cost-effectively reduce cybersecurity risks for the healthcare industry. The publication marks the culmination of a two-year effort that brought together over 150 cybersecurity and healthcare experts from industry and the government under the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Public-Private Partnership.

The HICP publication aims to provide cybersecurity practices for this vast, diverse, and open sector to ultimately improve the security and safety of patients. It explores the five most relevant and current threats to the industry and recommends ten Cybersecurity Practices to help mitigate these threats. The document presents real-life events and statistics that demonstrate the financial and patient care impacts of cyber incidents. It also lays out a call to action for all industry stakeholders, from C-suite executives and healthcare practitioners to IT security professionals, that protective and preventive measures must be taken now. The publication also includes two technical volumes geared for IT and IT security professionals. Technical Volume 1 focuses on cybersecurity practices for small healthcare organizations, while Technical Volume 2 focuses on practices for medium and large healthcare organizations. The last volume provides resources and templates that organizations can leverage to assess their own cybersecurity posture as well develop policies and procedures.

Public Input Sought on Federal Quantum Information Science Initiative

QIS Strategic Overview

In September 2018, the White House released a National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science [PDF] that directed federal research agencies to develop plans to ensure continued American leadership in QIS.  Towards that goal, the National Science and Technology Council through the National Science Foundation is seeking public input to inform this planning process. Responders are asked to answer one or more of the following questions:

1. What specific actions could the US Government take that would contribute best to implementing the policy recommendations in the Strategic Overview? What challenges, not listed in section 3, should also be taken into account in implementation of the Strategic Overview recommendations?

2. What are the scientific and technological challenges that, with substantial resources and focus over the next ten years, will transform the QIS research and development landscape?

3. Regarding industrial engagement, what roles can the U.S. Government play in enabling the innovation ecosystem around QIS-related technologies? Are there critical barriers for industrial innovation in this space? How can these barriers be addressed? What role can the U.S. Government play in mitigating early or premature investment risks?

4. How can the U.S. Government engage with academia and other workforce development programs and stakeholders to appropriately train and maintain researchers in QIS while expanding the size and scope of the `quantum-smart’ workforce?

5. What existing infrastructure should be leveraged, and what new infrastructure could be considered, to foster future breakthroughs in QIS research and development?

6. What other activities/partnerships could the U.S. Government use to engage with stakeholders to ensure America’s prosperity and economic growth through QIS research and development?

7. How can the United States continue to attract and retain the best domestic and international talent and expertise in QIS?

8. How can the United States ensure that US researchers in QIS have access to cutting-edge international technologies, research facilities, and knowledge?