Health Information Technology as Key Export Sector

June 24, 2011

Fred W. Aziz is Associate Director of Technology and E-Commerce at International Trade Administration, where he covers innovation sectors such as cloud computing, health IT, and software.   

Matthew Hein has been with the International Trade Administration for the past six years.  He currently serves as an International Trade Specialist on the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Team in the Office of Health and Consumer Goods.

Steve Miller is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s  Office of Service Industries where he is responsible for knowledge economy issues including health services, research and development services, and university commercialization.

Technology has evolved to become an integral part of each of our lives, whether for work, play or simply staying connected to a loved one.  This technology adoption, however, has yet to be fully integrated into one key aspect of our lives:  healthcare.  Practitioners of applying technology to the digitization, storage, delivery and analysis of healthcare information refer to this evolving sector as “Health IT,” short for Health Information Technology.

Health IT’s internationalization and its export potential for U.S. industry and the role of policymakers were the topics of a June 17, 2011, roundtable at the White House Conference Center entitled ‘Health IT: Beyond Our Borders.’   This event brought together leading voices in U.S. Health IT innovation from both industry and government to discuss ways to increase Health IT exports, pursuant to President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double American exports by the end of 2014, in support of several millions jobs.  Representatives of major healthcare providers, technology and software firms, and trade associations shared their views on the opportunities and challenges for Health IT firms in the global marketplace as key government officials listened and engaged the attendees.

The opening welcome and introductory remarks were delivered by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services (MAS), Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale.  U.S. Government officials guiding the roundtable discussion included White House CTO Aneesh Chopra and National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari.  Newly named Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Maureen Smith acted as moderator and provided closing remarks.

However, the event was focused firmly on the perspectives and views of industry representatives, who openly discussed possible approaches for increasing Health IT exports.   Government officials, in turn, provided a rundown of available resources within the government and asked what more could be done to assist and enable Health IT exports

This roundtable discussion was developed and organized by the Health IT Team within Manufacturing and Services, a division of the International Trade Administration, in cooperation with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT at Health and Human Services and the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.  Following on this successful session, MAS will continue to work with industry to deliver targeted outcomes that enhance both the competitiveness of the sector and export opportunities for U.S. firms.

The roundtable identified a number of follow-up action items such as further discussions on standards, improving the collection and dissemination of international commercial opportunities in the Health IT space,  research and reporting on top markets for Health IT, and facilitating an intake form relating to international tenders.

Please see the blog posts from The White House  and follow this space for information on future developments in the sector.

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