Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation discusses the brewing health IT IP battle as more PHR patents are granted
MMRGlobal (OTC: MMRF), an online personal health record provider, announced they have been granted the notice of allowance for an online personal health record patent. This patent will join the Company’s patent numbers 8,117, 646; 8,117,045; and 8,121,855, and are directed toward the transmission of personal health records and other protected health information to a PHR. MMRGlobal has more than 180 additional claims pending and applied for under a growing portfolio of PHR, document management and imaging patents. MMRGlobal Chairman and CEO, Robert H. Lorsch, said, “Since 2005, MMR has been building a Personal Health Record that seamlessly connects to any doctor or hospital regardless of the systems in the office, be it plain paper or the most advanced electronic medical records systems. This overriding patent will help protect the integrity of our products and raise the bar for PHRs while also making it extremely difficult to comply with certain Meaningful Use requirements under the HITECH Act without a license from MMR for the Company’s IP.”
MMRGlobal isn’t the only health IT firm to pursue a patent strategy and protect it’s intellectual property in the area of digital health and PHRs. McKesson, an EHR vendor, may pursue a patent infringement lawsuit against Epic Systems. An ongoing legal battle between the two companies is related to Epic’s alleged patent violation on McKesson’s “MyChart” solution that enables electronic communication between providers and patients. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Court overturned a district court’s ruling and opened the door for further litigation. The U.S. Court of Appeals stated that, “We hold that all the steps of a claimed method must be performed in order to find induced infringement, but that is not necessary to prove that all the steps were committed by a single entity,” The broad scope of stakeholders working together in the healthcare industry make the implications of the case’s outcome highly anticipated.
As the health IT sector continues to grow there will be an inevitable group of firms that look to capitalize on their early investments in IP. Will patents like MMRGLobal’s be a game changer? Time will tell but one thing is certain, healthcare IT vendors will be increasingly aware as to how intellectual property will affect their strategies moving forward.
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Interested in learning more about the sophisticated uses of health IT? Join Baptist Memorial Hospital, Texas Tech University and Kindred Healthcare as they discuss these topics during their, “Meaningful Use & Beyond: A Road Map to a High Performance Health Care System” panel at the upcoming iHT2 Health IT Summit in Austin taking place at the Hyatt Regency, December 5th and 6th