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Ryan B. Marcus maintains a general health care practice. He advises hospitals health systems, and health industry clients on a variety of regulatory and transactional matters, including mergers, acquisitions, affiliations, and joint ventures. Read Ryan Marcus' full bio.

Throughout 2017, the health care and life sciences industries experienced a widespread proliferation of digital health innovation that presents challenges to traditional notions of health care delivery and payment as well as product research, development and commercialization for both long-standing and new stakeholders. At the same time, lawmakers and regulators made meaningful progress toward modernizing the existing legal framework in a way that will both adequately protect patients and consumers and support and encourage continued innovation, but their efforts have not kept pace with what has become the light speed of innovation. As a result, some obstacles, misalignment and ambiguity remain.

We are pleased to bring you this review of key developments that shaped digital health in 2017, along with planning considerations and predictions for the digital health frontier in the year ahead.

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As the Federal Communications Commission repeals the Open Internet Order—more commonly known as the net-neutrality rules—health care consumers and providers have been left wondering how this change will affect their ability to receive and deliver health care using digital health tools. In this On the Subject, we outline how changes in internet access will affect digital health and what the regulatory landscape will look like in the coming months and years.

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently released a report detailing user experience research on patient access to health data. The Report sought to examine the experiences of individuals and processes of health systems, with commentary from medical record fulfillment administrators, to determine how the medical record request process can be improved for consumers.

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As one of the last states to retain highly restrictive (and arguably anti-competitive) telemedicine practice standards, health care providers, regulatory boards, technology companies, payors and other stakeholders have been actively monitoring Texas’ approach to telemedicine regulation and the related Teladoc case. Senate Bill 1107, a bill that significantly eases the delivery of care via telemedicine in the state of Texas, was passed on May 18 and signed into law by Governor Abbott on May 30.

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