Category Archives: Government

Do patents block innovation?

Innovation by nature requires the sharing of ideas, inspiration and information. It also thrives on open two way discussions and debates. Whereas patents by nature protect organisations pockets and stop the flow of information.

We understand that innovators and innovative companies need to gain recognition for their products and services and cover their research and development costs. However Docmate is all about innovation and moving the healthcare industry forward therefore we are not fans of patents. We think they do more harm than good.

Orion Armon, Partner at Cooley LLP, reports on Mobi Health News, that until now, the mobile health industry has experienced relatively few patent restrictions and conflicts. However he warns this peace may soon be disrupted as companies in the medical device, computer, networking, and communications industries are all patenting in the mobile health space.

The likely result Armon predicts is there will be a thicket of overlapping patents on mobile health products and their components. Already the number of mobile health patents issued by the Patent Office has increased incrementally from 2000 and it is predicted to continue to surge until at least 2014.

As this thicket grows, patent infringement conflicts will also grow, particularly as mobile health technologies mature and winners within the industry emerge. Armon, provides some tips for mobile health companies can manage patent infringement risk as follows:

  • If you have never been sued, consider purchasing insurance;
  • Properly structure IP indemnification rights and obligations;
  • Build-out your patent portfolio—even ancillary improvements in the mHealth space may become critical if they are widely adopted by your competitors;
  • Streamline your internal invention disclosure, review, and patent filing processes, and where appropriate, use the USPTO’s Track 1 process to accelerate examination of key patent applications;
  • Monitor competitors’ patent filings and patent portfolios, and consider making pre-issuance submissions of prior art during prosecution of competitors’ patents;
  • Proactively cross-license patents with key IP owners to expand your freedom to operate—or utilize commodity components from major companies who will indemnify you for their use; and
  • If competitors are infringing, consider enforcing your patents before your competitors’ patent portfolios mature.

References

Armon, Orion. 2012. Is mobile health about to enter a patent thicket? Retrieved 15 November 2012 from http://mobihealthnews.com/10-23-12-analysis-mhealths-patent- thicket-topol-leaves-west/

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Canterbury GP’s to get Free Text Messaging System

GP’s in Canterbury, New Zealand are being offered a free installation of Vensa Health’s TXT2Remind messaging system which is funded by the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).

Around 40 per cent of practices in the Canterbury region already use the system which permits GPs to send appointment, screening and immunisation reminders in addition to key health messages directly to their patients over text message.

The two year initiative will also provide a monthly allowance of text messages at no cost and plans to have the system rolled out in 95% of practices.

The TEXT2Remind System is administrated by Pegasus Health, the not-for-profit organisation that manages over 100 practices in Canterbury. The system however is available to any general practice providing primary healthcare and has been endorsed by the primary healthcare organisations in the region.

At DocMate we think this is a great initiative in the way forward to bringing the healthcare industry online and up to speed with other industries. It looks like our little brother New Zealand is getting ahead of the game with this move. To date no Australian State health boards have followed suit. We love all things to do with innovation particularly when it comes to digital healthcare. We are excited by this move from the CDHB and will keep you abreast of any health boards around Australia that follow CBDH’s move.

References

McDonald, Kate. 2012. Canterbury GPS to get free text messaging system. Retrieved
Thursday 20 September from http://www.pulseitmagazine.com.au/index.php?
option=com_content&view=article&id=1146:canterbury-gps-to-get-free-text-messaging-
system&catid=49:new-zealand-ehealth&Itemid=274

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Healthcare industry takes innovation to a whole new level with mobile phone peripherals

The healthcare industry is taking innovation to a whole new level with a line of phone peripherals
healthcare professionals can use. Not only is the industry picking up its game by establishing
an online and smartphone app presence but it has gone the extra mile creating medical device
peripherals that attach to mobile phones.

The inventions include an iPhone periopheral LED light which aids in detecting sodium and/or
blood glucose levels, microscopes, heart rate readers, mini eye exam machines as well as blood
glucose meters. Take a look at some of these fascinating inventions at the following link http://
mobihealthnews.com/12062/7-medical-phone-peripherals-you-should-know/

Here at DocMate we love innovation particularly within the healthcare space. We are so excited by
these innovations and to see that inventions such as these are being created alongside the migration
of the industry to the internet. Stay tuned on the DocMate blog to keep up to date with healthcare
innovations.

References

Dolan, Brain (2011). 7 medical phone peripherals you should know. Retrieved 8 September 2012
from http://mobihealthnews.com/12062/7-medical-phone-peripherals-you-should-know/

Australian e-Health Scheme has the support of doctors

As part of the National Health Reform, the Government is investing $465.7 million over two years on the eHealth scheme which aims to “provide a new way of managing health information online that will make it more accessible to Australians who chose to sign up with the system, and their chosen healthcare professionals (Department of Health and Ageing).”

The Department of Health and Ageing describes the eHealth scheme as a “gateway to Australia’s personally controlled electronic health.”  By registering for an eHealth record you can see a secure online summary of your key healthcare information. You can control what goes into your eHealth record and who is able to access it. The Government believes “over time an eHealth record will help put you at the centre of your own healthcare.”

The Sydney Morning Heralds health correspondent Mark Metherell , reports that although the rollout of the scheme is still months away it has “locked in the support of doctors.” Metherell advises “the government has won the agreement of big doctors’ groups, including the Australian Medical Association, to new arrangements that will allow doctors to claim as much as $100 from Medicare for collating health records with their patients.”

Although inevitably there is and have been teething problems and criticisms, the medical professions backing of the reform is a positive step for Australia. Compared with a similar scheme in Britain which is failing to gain healthcare professional and the public’s approval we are doing well (Jones & The Independent).

So the doctors are on board but what does the everyday Australian think about the scheme? We are interested in knowing as there seems to be very little polls and information published to gage public opinion.

Join the conversation today and let us know your thoughts on the eHealth reform and how you would like to see your relationship with your doctor improve.

References

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (2012). eHealth. Retrieved 25 August 2012 from http://www.yourhealth.gov.au/internet/yourhealth/publishing.nsf/Content/theme-ehealth#.UDhKFKD_nyI

Dearne, Karen (2012). Sceptics warn of risks and inadequacies in shared e-health records system. Retrieved 25 August from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/government/sceptics-warn-of-risks-and-inadequacies-in-shared-electronic-health-records/story-fn4htb9o-1226412887806

Jones, Allen (2012). Only one in four back NHS reforms. Retrieved Tuesday 21 August 2012 at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/only-one-in-four-back-nhs-reforms-6804616.html

Metherell, Mark (2012). Doctors agree to update practices to share ehealth data. Retrieved 25 August 2012 from http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/doctors-agree-to-update-practices-to-share-ehealth-data-20120823-24oxm.html

The Independent (2012). Only 12 per cent of GPs back NHS reforms. Retrieved Tuesday 21 2012 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/only-12-per-cent-of-gps-back-nhs-reforms-7620961.html

Australia vs Britain in eHealth reforms

All patients in England are set to have online access to their personal GP records by 2015 according to the National Health Service (NHS).

“The internet has revolutionised how people shop, bank and travel, and for too long the NHS has not been a part of that,” states Health Secretary Andrew Lansley (publicservice.co.uk, 2012).

Jeremy Laurance of The Independent UK, reports “ministers believe that giving patients more control over their records will encourage them to be more active in caring for their own health and make them better able to monitor the performance of their GPs (as GPs are expected to keep more accurate records knowing patients will have access to them).”

Laurance reports that The British Medical Association has had some opposition to the move warning online access could lead to security breaches, patients coerced into releasing information or becoming upset when viewing upsetting information without support.

GP’s opinion of the NHS reform to make health service users better off has dropped from 23% to 12% in the two months since the NHS reform was announced, according to The Independent UK.

Support amongst the public hasn’t been strong either with The Independent UK’s Alan Jones reporting only one in four people support the reform, according to a trade union study from February 2012.

Australia, compared to Britain, is ahead of the game. The Department of Health and Ageing already has an eHealth program in place a “gateway to Australia’s personally controlled electronic health (eHealth).”  By registering for an eHealth record you and see a secure online summary of your key healthcare information. You can control what goes into your eHealth record and whpo is able to access it. The Government believes “over time an eHealth record will help put you at the centre of your own healthcare.”

Although we are ahead of the game we still need to work on patient and GP awareness of the system and continue to move forward with ongoing healthcare IT advances.

Here at DocMate one of our highest values is innovation. We welcome the move of records going online as a positive step in the modernising of the healthcare industry. Although we acknowledge that the proposed reform involves intricate policy and details which need to be discussed with GPs and the public to incorporate their feedback to make it a successful and mutually beneficial strategy.

We are a small part of the migrating the healthcare sector online to reduce time and cost to consumers by strengthening doctor/patient relationships. To book an online appointment today click here.

References

Australian Governmnet, Department of Health and Ageing (2012). Welcome to eHealth.gov.au. Retrieved 21 August 2012 from http://www.ehealth.gov.au/internet/ehealth/publishing.nsf/content/home#.UDLuGaD_nyI

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