The following statement was released today by Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, PhD, FACP, FACMI, President and CEO, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
AMIA Commends Congressional leaders for demonstrating their commitment to patients by finding compromise on Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding levels. Specifically, the increases to NIH, CDC, and SAMHSA will enable important research, mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, and provide much-needed funds to address the deepening opioid crisis. The $2 billion increase to NIH funding is a down payment on a wide range of activities required by 21st Century Cures, including the Precision Medicine Initiative, the BRAIN Initiative, Alzheimer’s research and other efforts. Likewise additional funding to SAMHSA and the CDC will combat prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic.
Across these agencies – and the programs they support – informatics is the key to unlocking knowledge from vast amounts of data to develop new treatments and cures. Informatics will enable more and better research to cure Alzheimer’s disease or increase the value of data sharing in clinical trials. Informatics will also improve monitoring of drug prescribing habits or hospital admissions using real-time information sources. As a community of informatics professionals, AMIA stands ready to support the efforts articulated in this budget so that taxpayer investments will benefit patients across the country.
Still much work is yet to be done. Congress must turn its focus to FY 2018, and continue to demonstrate its commitment to the goals of 21st Century Cures. Specifically, Congress must continue to fund the NIH at levels authorized by 21st Century Cures, and it must ensure commensurate increases are made to ONC, FDA and AHRQ budgets. Progress made in basic science is only useful if it can be leveraged by industry through innovative treatments, and implemented at the bedside where it can impact patient care. Likewise, to carry discovery from the NIH to the patient, strong programs and services must by delivered by ONC, FDA and AHRQ. AMIA calls on Congress to fully fund these agencies in FY 2018 in anticipation of the considerable work envisioned by 21st Century Cures. Failure to do so will leave one of the most promising biomedical legislative efforts of the last generation stranded and unrealized. We are encouraged by progress made in FY 2017 spending levels, and AMIA looks forward to similar bipartisan leadership from the Congress on 2018 spending priorities.