FDA starts e-communicating

Government folks–and many in health care–aren’t exactly known for quick pickup on trends, no matter how useful. Something about wheels grinding exceeding slow…

Anyway, good news from the FDA. They’ll soon be processing drug approvals with an electronic tool being developed by Global Net Service and Cyclone Commerce. Pharmaceutical makers will shortly be able to abandon inefficient paper submission and start submitting electronic documentation when seeking approval for new drugs.

Starting immediately and finishing in 2006, the new gateway will be the single point for electronic submissions from drug and medical device companies, drug distributors, food makers, health-care organizations and government agencies.

Thank heavens, this is just the beginning. Once everybody realizes just how much easier, faster, and cheaper electronic communication is, the word will get around and, with luck, the entire health care industry will get on the bandwagon. It’s always surprising to me–though I guess it shouldn’t be–when people and organizations refuse to see the obvious benefits of doing things differently. I guess maybe it’s because the nature of human beings is to fear change. And maybe the finance guys have to be beaten over the head with facts and figures before they realize that spending now will result in real savings for the long term.

Oh, yeah, now I remember. It’s the American obsession with this quarter’s bottom line that enforces the drag-your-feet attitude. Well, we’ve started copying the Japanese way of making cars. Maybe soon we’ll catch on to their “let’s-look-ten-years-ahead” philosophy and junk the “we’re-down-this-quarter!” panic-attack approach.