Category Archives: Technology

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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Digital Health Investments Continue to Grow

Over one billion USD has been invested in digital health in 2012 alone. While there are currently no Australian based reports on the growth of digital health investments on home soil. The Australian market closely follows the US market therefore the trends in the US market are applicable to us.

At Docmate we are passionate about innovation, particularly within the healthcare realm. So we are excited at this news and the potential these funds have at bringing about real change to healthcare products and services.

The investment in digital health is an increase of $626 million from 2011 with approximately 103 digital health companies raising $2 million in funds or more in 2012. 128 venture capital firms have invested in digital health companies this year and 10% of the investors are new to digital health. While consumer facing offerings are still significant 2012 saw the majority of investment dollars (approximately $448 million) go towards companies with B2B business models.

For more information you can take a look at the report for yourself at the following link:

http://www.slideshare.net/RockHealth

So what does this increase in investment mean for healthcare consumers? It means healthcare products and services will be increasingly more effective and up there with other industries in terms of leading edge technology. It means saving you time and money when managing your health.

Stay tuned at here at the Docmate blog to stay aboard of more advances in the world of digital health.

References:

Dolan, B (2012). More than $1 billion in 2012 digital health investments so far. Retrieved 13 October 2012 from http://mobihealthnews.com/18666/more-than-1-billion-in-2012-digital-health-investments-so-far/

Rock Health (2012). Digital Health Q3 2012 Funding Report. Retrieved 13 October 2012 from http://www.slideshare.net/RockHealth

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First aid for everyone

No matter what you do, it pays to have first aid skills as you can’t learn it in an emergency. First aid is for everyone and no matter how good you think you’re knowledge is it is always best to refresh your mind or consider enrolling in a course.

I recently completed a St John’s two day introductory first aid course over a weekend. I thought I had a basic idea of what to do in an emergency situation by use common sense or just rely on calling an ambulance. However the course taught me some of the responses I thought were right weren’t and it gave me greater confidence in an emergency situation.

The introductory course covered how to respond to broken bones, cuts, conscious and unconscious breathing and non breathing casualties, allergic reactions, burns, asthma attacks amongst other situations.

The most important lesson I learnt was that even if you suspect a casualty has spiral or neck injuries if they are unconscious you must always put them into the recovery position. I always thought you would never move someone with suspected spinal or neck injuries however I learnt if they are unconscious their airways are at risk. Hence if someone’s airway is at risk then they risk not breathing which then means brain damage or death. If they are not breathing then you perform CPR.

The teacher of the course I completed told an awful story of one of her students who was present at an accident scene where the casualty was unconscious. Members of the public restrained him because he wanted to move the casualty into a recovery position. Very unfortunately the casualty died as his airway was blocked and if you don’t get air regardless of whether you have a suspected spinal injury you will be unlikely to live.

The other important take away I got was to remember you are a first aider which means exactly that. You do not do anything beyond your training or beyond what you feel comfortable and confident doing.

I would highly recommend the St John’s course for anyone whether it be for workplace use or generally knowledge for citizens. You can find out more about their courses at the following link www.stjohn.org.au or as always you can ask us here at Docmate!

References

St John, 2012. First Aid Training. Retrieved 6 October 2012 from http://www.stjohn.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=25

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Does smartphone = smart healthcare?

More people allegedly have access to mobile phones than to clean water, accordingly to the not for profit Tides Centre who run openmheath.org. Assuming this is true, the implications of mobile health are huge.

Mobile health can be described as using mobile and wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, to improve health outcomes, services and research. You may be thinking I’ve never used my smartphone when it comes to my health. Well chances are you already have and if not your reading the DocMate websites blog so probably going to very soon!

You may not know it but you are already using Mobile Health if you have viewed your health records electronically, have downloaded health apps such as “Calorie Counters” or “Map my run” or participate in the ‘gamification’ of health through health quizzes for example. If you haven’t there are apps out there you may be interested in that can help you manage your sleep, eat healthier, manage moods, track pregnancies, manage prescriptions, monitor blood pressure and check nearby pollen levels.

If you haven’t we hope you will jump on board with DocMate to start your Mobile Health experience and book online appointments of your preferred doctor or specialist online. We are committed to improving healthcare professional/patient relationships to provide cost savings and efficiency for both parties.

Here at DocMate we love innovation particularly within the healthcare space so we are very excited by the rise of mobile health and the benefits it can provide for everyday Australians. We think the below infograph is a fantastic source of information to educate both healthcare professionals and the public how mobile health can equal smarter healthcare.

Mobile Healthcare means 2 times as many rural patients can be reached per doctor, a 24% decrease in administration feeds, 25% savings for senior citizens. The industry keeps on growing with 40,000 medical apps currently available for smartphones and tablets, smartphone and tablets (and their peripherals) trending to be the most popular tech devices for doctors since the stethoscope and the number of healthcare app’s being downloaded almost doubling in one year to currently stand at 247 million people who have downloaded a health app in 2012.

The Mobile Healthcare industry has a heart too – the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action are looking to implement free prepaid cell phone credits to low-income, at-risk expectant mothers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa so they can call or text questions to health experts.

So we encourage you to consider jumping on board and getting involved in Mobile Health to experience firsthand the benefits of Mobile Health. We would be happy to help so let us know if you have any questions or queries!

References

Allied Health World, 2012. Smartphone= Smart Healthcare? Retrieved 2 October 2012 from

http://www.alliedhealthworld.com/visuals/smartphone-healthcare.html

Tide Centre, 2012. mHealth: Healthcare Goes Mobile. Retrieved 2 October 2012 from

http://www.globaldata.com/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PRID=294&Type=Industry&Title=Medical+Devices

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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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