The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced a pilot program that could lead to a "pre-certification" for digital health startups, reports CNBC.
The "Pre-Cert for Software Pilot Program" would help medical software start-ups fast-track the approval process for new products that might help patients in new and innovative ways.
The FDA will allow up to nine companies to sign up for the pilot. If all goes well, the pilot project could become permanent. The agency has outlined eight broad criteria that applicants must meet in order to be considered for the project.
With the new pilot program, the FDA is starting to rip away the snarl of red tape that slows the process. In healthcare, technology could help save lives, improve standards of living and reduce the enormous costs of medical care in the U.S. But advances in healthcare are often hampered by long approval and review processes.
The FDA has proven to be one of the more progressive federal agencies when it comes to technology. In January the agency signed a two-year research initiative agreement with IBM Watson Health to explore the use of blockchain technology for the exchange of health data.
While there's no guarantee the pilot program will be successful, the fact that the FDA recognizes that it often hampers innovation is a step in the right direction. With technology evolving quickly, the program could help connect patients with the data they need much more quickly.