Ethics and medical technology

29 11 2012

Because of its high costs there are much better medicine for, increasingly, fewer individuals.

Ética y Tecnología médica


Raymundo channels of the sourceIn current Western societies appears a deeply contradictory phenomenon in view of the increasingly high costs of medicine.

Medical advances are very bulky, We have a vast panorama of new treatments, novel drugs, minimally invasive surgery, custom therapies, genomic medicine and a long list of tools to make our work more efficiently and with less discomfort for the patient.

At the same time attention becomes more expensive. Without a doubt we can save more lives or prolong them with reasonable quality, but in view of the costs, fewer people have access to the most advanced.

The research for these magnificent results involves million dollar investments that have to be cleared by the end user, that is to say, the patient found to be sick in a situation of vulnerability, having limited its production capacity; to sum fewer individuals there are much better medicine for each time.


All Western healthcare systems are in crisis, from the most powerful country in the world, in which the newly re-elected Obama could not resolved access to medical care for their less-favoured social classes, for a simple reason: el costo; with greater reason countries with less developed, such as ours suffer crisis regarding the financing of health systems. While it is true that the popular insurance has much more coverage, diseases that are covered are contained in a list, that excludes many others and the reason is, Once again, el costo. Thethe costdeepens if Additionally the novelties coming from abroad, often countries with high level of development whose vocation is focused not only on return on investment, but in doing good business with the sale of this technology.


The only rational way to mitigate the effects of this crisis, virtually global, It is investing in our own scientific and technological developments, through a scheme involving the Government, the industry and the scientists around a table with that common objective. Mexico has people in high level in all these areas with proven ability to take forward projects of high magnitude, the political will of a determined Government we only need to finalize them although there is the natural opposition of commercial houses transnational. It is necessary and urgent for example, the development of equipment for the control of diabetes, for hemodialysis or minimally invasive surgery, otherwise we will witness a collapse of our health systems, already clearly threatened by high costs, coupled to the corruption of those who exercise the popular insurance resources, that is to say, the State secretariats of health. It is an ethical responsibility that we hope that the next Government has the ability to cope with. [en línea]Mexico DF (MEX): de noviembre de 2012 [REF. 11 November of 2012] Available on Internet: = note&section = opinion&Cat = 11&id_nota = 869083

First birth of twins released mutation that causes colon cancer.

26 11 2012




The result is the result of joint work of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and program playback assisted Fundació Puigvert-Hospital de Sant Pau.




■ It is the first time in the world that gets the birth of babies without this hereditary predisposition genetic diagnosis using preimplantation for double factor (DF-PGD).

■ This technique, developed by UAB, at the same time identify if embryos are free of genetic disorders and chromosomal Endowment is normal.

■ The colon is the third type of cancer which causes more deaths in the West and raised more than 650.000 deaths every year around the world.


Barcelona, 7 November of 2012.- The Unit of medical genetics and cell biology of the Faculty of Medicine of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) -with the Dra. Quim Navarro to the front - and the Assisted reproduction program Fundació Puigvert-Hospital de Sant Pau - directed by Dr. Joaquim Calaf with the Dra. Ana Polo and the Dra. Olga Martínez Passarell as responsible for the program of PGD - have achieved, for the first time in the world, the birth of twins without a mutation of predisposition to hereditary colon cancer does not poliposico (HNPCC) oLynch syndrome. This birth is achieved through a cycle of preimplantation genetic diagnosis of dual genetic factor (DF-PGD).

This methodology is analyzed, in it he cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the mutation responsible for the hereditary disease and the full chromosome complement of evolutionary embryos.

Hereditary colon cancer does not poliposico (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome is a rare monogenic disease, mainly linked to mutations of the DNA repair genes, they are important in the maintenance of genomic stability during the cell cycle. With 665.000 deaths per year worldwide, This is the third type of cancer that causes more deaths in the West and the fourth most common cancer form in United States.

According to the data extracted from the European society of human reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), less than the 14% the embryos transferred to the womb in cycles of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (DGP) for monogenic diseases end up resulting in a pregnancy. One of the reasons for this low rate of pregnancy may be the presence of alterations in chromosome number of transferred embryos that are not scanned into standard PGD.

In the present case had several family history of digestive cancers. The couple, After passing through genetic counselling, he opted to carry out PGD to prevent the transmission of Lynch syndrome to their offspring. The case was presented to the National Commission for assisted human reproduction and, authorized once, the process was initiated to carry out PGD. In order to increase the likelihood of pregnancy, the possibility to diagnose not only the mutation in embryos was raised, but also its chromosome complement through preimplantation genetic diagnosis of dual genetic factor (DF-PGD). Like this, the evolutionary embryos to day +3 obtained in IVF cycles, two cells were analyzed (blastomeres):one was used for the study of the family mutation and the other for the study of all chromosomes, using the technique of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH).

The procedure of DF-PGD applied in this case was as follows: Twelve embryos could analyze the mutation family, being 5 of them non-carriers of this mutation. These five, three were found to be chromosomally normal. Two of these three healthy embryos to the two factors were transferred to the womb, resulting in a twin pregnancy. The end result has been the birth of a boy and a girl, the two free of Lynch syndrome. The post-natal genetic study has confirmed the diagnosis that had previously been established.


On the unity of biology cell genetics medical at the Faculty of medicine at the UAB

The unit cell biology and medical genetics of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) It is located in the Faculty of Medicine of the University Campus in BellaTerra. This unit is part of the Department of cell biology, Physiology and Immunology. The unit consists of the teaching and research staff, integrated into a group of quality research, recognised by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the basic and clinical cytogenetics research group. In addition, they are also attached to the personal unit of administration and services, and research support staff. The main lines of research in which we work are human reproduction, cancer, the genotoxic effects and the chromosomal speciation.

The unit cell biology and medical genetics at the UAB receives competitive funds since 1994. It has received funding from the Marató de TV3 on two occasions (of 1994 al 1998 y de 1999 to the 2001) and, later, four aid FIS(Health Research Fund) the Ministry of health and Consumer Affairs.

The unit is responsible for the teaching of several subjects in studies of Bachelor's degree and/or degree of medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Speech therapy, Biomedical Sciences and genetics. It also participates in the Master of cell biology and cellular biology PhD.

The Unit welcomes also to students of Bachelor's degree or degree in practices and to students in their final year of undergraduate or degree.


On the program of reproduction assisted Fundació Puigvert-Hospital de Sant Pau

The assisted reproduction program (PRA) carried out jointly the Fundació Puigvert and the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is an initiative of both institutions to, at the time, they had the vision to focus jointly a health problem that affects, by concept, the couple. Take advantage of the experience of the two institutions in the respective fields of Andrology and the Endocrinology of reproduction.

In March of 2011 It was announced the birth of the first baby in Spain without the family mutation responsible for predisposition to breast and hereditary ovarian cancer. On that occasion, the reproduction assisted Fundació Puigvert-Hospital de Sant Pau programme successfully conducted preimplantation genetic diagnosis in a carrier of the BRCA1 gene. This procedure ended with the birth of a healthy baby not carrier of predisposition to breast cancer.

The Fundació Puigvert was the first Center of public health Catalan to have a sperm bank (Active since the year 1985), in practicing insemination artificial and Cryopreserved semen in oncology patients. The year 1987 already he gave as a result the first pregnancy through in vitro fertilization of the Catalan public network. Currently,practice a year more than 1.000 cycles of insemination and over 500 in vitro fertilization, in its different modalities..

PGD started the year 2001 within the public program of assisted reproduction, with few cycles/year with an indication of chromosomal alteration. Since its inception, they have increased the number and complexity of cases of gradually, requiring the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team of specialists in genetics, Oncology and Neurology, among others. Currently, carried out some 20 PGD cycles per year, and priority is given to the hereditary disease indication (more complex cycles technically and requiring more financial resources). Since then, This technique has been applied to more than one hundred of pairs and full-term pregnancies were achieved in 43% of couples.


More information:

Department of communication of the Fundació Puigvert.

Andrea Gil-Bermejo / Susanna Armengol

View.. 93 285 19 19 / 610 20 54 85 / 93 416 97 16 – [en línea]Barcelona (ESP):, 26 de noviembre de 2012 [REF. 07 November of 2012] Available on Internet: ={2FE901EE-97E6-418F-A3A7-E7D50E429085}&Type = n&Release = 1

"We use artificial intelligence to diagnose tuberculosis"

22 11 2012

Despite efforts and health strategies, tuberculosis follow affecting nearly nine million people around the world. To counteract this alarming figure, a team of researchers from the Universidad Cayetano Peruana Cayetano (UPCH), together with specialists from the CTIC Foundation of Spain, developed a project called “ICT tools for early warning and support for the early diagnosis of Tuberculosis” (TEDS-TB)”, which he has been recently awarded in Italy. "This collaborative work was imposed on others 400 research on the sixth edition of the Global Junior Challenge, in Rome, Italy", He noted the trade the Coordinator of the project in our country, Lady Murrugarra, the use of information technologies and communication specialist (ICT) in the health.




We are in the 21st century and it is incomprehensible that because of tuberculosis (TBC) follow having so many deaths…
It is true, and this evil is propagated in countries like ours. Hence the importance of the project “ICT tools for early warning and support for the early diagnosis of Tuberculosis” (TEDS-TB), It was developed as joint between experts from the Institute of medicine Tropical Alexander von Humboldt of the UPCH, CTIC Foundation of Spain.

What is this work?
It is based on algorithms and computational models that identify in minutes to the bacteria that causes TB. Three years ago we launched this study to which employ the Linux system. Does it work? As is the sputum sample takes a person, which is analyzed by our system of artificial intelligence and we have an accurate answer in five minutes, because you have a 98.5 percent of specificity.

Has been tested this technology and what have been the results?
Effectively, We have tested it quite successfully in several countries of the Andean region and the Caribbean, where can doctors treat people affected with this disease in minutes, thereby avoiding spread of TB among relatives and close circles. Remember that until today, with conventional analysis, have to spend an average of 20 days to know the results whether or not one is this evil. Then, our system not only has a significant impact in reducing levels of infection and control, but that reduces the high cost that demands your treatment.

What needed a health care professional to start using this technology?
Professional or health technician trained to use this technology can use it to more of 4 thousand meters above the sea level. And you only need an internet connection or through your cell phone you can send pictures and information required by our Center of computation that is housed in the UPCH. In the Peru we have lot of work on this topic, Since we have 32 thousand new cases a year and we are unfortunately the second country with TBC in the region. This is worrying.

What other plans have with this early warning system?
First of all, the recognition in Italy not only consisted of a distinction, but also a small Fund to continue the development of our work. It is that we think to diagnose more diseases with the use of the technology of artificial intelligence such as dengue, AIDS, malaria, among many others. By the way, countries in Asia and Africa have shown interest in our technology. This is not here, Therefore we will also continue with the training via e-learning and go to areas far from the country. In other words, We will seek to strengthen our project.

Have they compared his work with another similar in the region or in the world? 
We have reviewed the scientific literature on this topic to the maximum, and we have not found something similar. We believe that telemedicine is developing increasingly and this requires adding more efforts like the academic networks as CLARA, you promote the use of ICTs in health.

Research team

Peru:Coordinator: Lady Murrugarra Eduardo Gotuzzo, Carlos Seas, Carlos Zamudio, Juan Agapito, Henry Anchante, Edit Murrugarra, Oscar Becerra, Tatiana Cáceres and Luz Carbajal.

Spain: Coordinator: Francisco Prieto Brendan Doyle, Jimena Pascual, António Campos, Vanesa Lobato, Luis Angel San Martin and Alberto Fernández.


Interview by: Sandro Medina.

Author: Bruno Ortiz B.


Blogs.ElComercio.PE [en línea]Lima (PER): blogs.ElComercio.PE, 22 de noviembre de 2012 [REF. 05 November of 2012] Available on Internet:

The remote control of cardiac patients reduced mortality a 34%

19 11 2012


Control devojkuxtc of failure patients heart reduces mortality in these patients in a 34%, hospital admissions in a 43% and the imbalance caused by this disease in a 77%, According to the preliminary data presented Monday in Barcelona the failure of the heart project (Ichor).

Data, extracted from 200 patients –100 monitored at a distance and the rest as a control group–, they have been presented by Parc Salut Mar and Telefónica, collaborating since 2010 in the project Ichor to improve the management of patients with heart failure.

The presentation, in the context of the day ‘ eHealth: Future or reality ’, It has brought together responsible for various hospitals eHealth, and it has been closed by the Minister of health of the Generalitat, BOI Ruiz.

Remote monitoring has been carried out after giving the patients an interactive screen, a voltage meter and a scale, along with the communication platforms needed to send information to the health care team, a system of alarms to remind the taking of medication and educational content to enhance personal self-care, among others.

In a statement, Telefónica has reminded just about a third of the population suffering from a chronic disease, what generates between the 70% and the 80% of expenditure on health, While heart failure causes the occupation of up to the 10% of hospital beds, the 5% urgent revenue and generates the 2% of the total expenditure on health. [en línea]Madrid (ESP):, 19 de noviembre de 2012 [REF. 05 November of 2012] Available on Internet:

Researchers put in place a State Register of rare diabetic syndromes

15 11 2012

Involving patients, medical, medical and scientific professionals

The database will help to better understand three rare diseases: Wolfram syndromes, Bardt-Biedl and Alström




Barcelona, 6 November of 2012.- Spanish researchers have launched a state database to gather information on rare diabetic syndromes, you are a group of rare hereditary disorders whose common link is the body to glucose intolerance. The record focuses on three rare diseases: Wolfram syndromes, Bardt-Biedl and Alström.

The initiative, baptized with the name of REWBA (Registration Spanish syndromes Wolfram, Bardet-biedl syndrome and Alström), is led by researchers at the Institute of biomedical research of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) and the Centre for biomedical research on rare disease network (CIBERER). In addition, It has the collaboration of the University of Vigo and the Biobank CIBERER.

Registration is open to the participation of patients, medical, healthcare professionals and researchers. Its purpose is to collect information on the diabetic syndromes mentioned above to promote its study in Spain.


The information contained in REWBA will serve so that "physicians and researchers can better know these diseases", encourage its application in clinical research and lay the groundwork for developing future treatments. Also, This database will be useful in order to establish the possible existing correlations between mutations in the patient and its symptoms, "to follow the evolution of the disease and analyze how the different mutations affect its course", as indicated Virginia Nunes, Miguel Lopez de Heredia and Diana Valverde, responsible for the REWBA register (HTTPS://

To facilitate the access of researchers to samples that can be used in their studies, It has signed a collaboration agreement with the Biobank CIBERER, BioBank public and non-profit launched by the CIBERER and specialized in samples of rare diseases. The Biobank CIBERER will store and manage donated samples.


Useful information for your doctor

According to the technical coordinator of the project, Miguel Lopez de Heredia, researcher CIBERER IDIBELL human Molecular Genetics Group, directed by Virginia Nunes, Professor of the University of Barcelona and principal investigator of the CIBERER, "registry can collect more informations of" 150 different symptoms, "it will provide a detailed history of the patients".


Improve the quality of life

The project aims at the improvement of clinical practice: "we want to collect standardized data to understand the disease and to develop potential therapies", says Lopez de Heredia. The researcher is convinced that the initiative will serve to detect new cases that has not been diagnosed properly already that "to increase the visibility of the disease", "you can recognize cases which have not previously been detected". The ultimate goal of REWBA is to improve the quality of life for patients. "If a trial takes place in the future", "the application will allow to have a cohort of patients sufficiently well characterized", concludes Lopez de Heredia.

Since the number of people affected is very low, It is important to have a database containing the greatest number of cases possible. One of the objectives of the project is that, in the long run, There is a single international registration with data from these diseases that gather the information gathered by various existing records, which would avoid duplication and inconvenience to patients and physicians.

Researchers who have developed REWBA part, also, of the European Euro Rare Diabetes project (, whose goal is to create a European register of rare diabetic syndromes to raise awareness about these diseases and encourage translational research. It is funded by the Directorate-General for health and protection of consumers of the European Union (AIMED) participating physicians, researchers and associations of patients from all over Europe. In addition to the syndromes of Wolfram, Alström and Bardet-biedl syndrome, Euro Rare Diabetes Project includes other rare diabetic syndromes yet more minority as Wolcott Rallison and sensitive to thiamine with diabetes and deafness megaloblastic anemia. The idea is that in the future REWBA will also collect information about these diseases.



The CIBERER, dependent of the Carlos III Health Institute - Ministry of economy and competitiveness-, It coordinates research excellence on rare diseases developed in our country. Is constituted by 60 research groups belonging to 28 Consortium institutions of the first order and grouped to 700 researchers.

The CIBERER aims to investigate the causes and mechanisms that cause rare diseases, offer new diagnostic approaches and develop research that offer new treatments for them. The common thread is the vocation of translation of the discoveries in the laboratory to the bedside and clinical practice. [en línea]Barcelona (ESP):, 15 de noviembre de 2012 [REF. 06 November of 2012] Available on Internet:

A catalan pediatrician, among the ten most outstanding young people of the world 2012

12 11 2012

Barcelona, 30 Oct (EFE).- The catalan pediatrician Quique Bassat has been chosen as one of the ten most outstanding young people in the world this year by the International Chamber of young in the category of medical innovation by its “extraordinary work in Pediatrics and medical research in developing countries”.


Un pediatra catalán, entre los diez jóvenes más sobresalientes del mundo 2012

A catalan pediatrician, among the ten most outstanding young people of the world 2012

Barcelona, 30 Oct (EFE).- The catalan pediatrician Quique Bassat has been chosen as one of the ten most outstanding young people in the world this year by the International Chamber of young in the category of medical innovation by its “extraordinary work in Pediatrics and medical research in developing countries”.

The young International Chamber (JCI) is an international organisation founded in 1944 that participates in the system of the United Nations (UN) and each year selects young people who have more prominent in the field of innovation and research to improve the quality of life of the people.

Quique Bassat, been highlighted for his work against malaria, will pick up its distinction the next 20 November at the JCI World Congress, This year will be held in Taipei (Taiwan).

“It is very important that JCI is set in the work being done on neglected diseases, especially in the field of malaria, Since it is a boost to medical research in countries where it is most needed”, Quique Bassat said upon hearing the news.

“In addition, This prize is a recognition to research as a driver of innovation and the development of poor countries”.

Doctor of medicine by the University of Barcelona, Quique Bassat is a pediatrician specializing in tropical medicine and epidemiology.

He has extensive experience in the conduct of clinical trials in developing countries, among the trials of the first vaccine candidate against malaria, the RTS,S.

Currently works as a researcher in the CRESIB, the research of the Institute for Global Health in Barcelona Centre (ISGlobal), where it coordinates the implementation of several projects related to malaria in countries such as Mozambique, Brazil, India or Papua New Guinea.

JCI Awards each year to ten juveniles of 40 years to, through his work and innovation, develop positive changes that contribute to creating a better world.

In addition to Dr. Bassat, among the award-winning ten in 2012 are filipinos Benigno “BAM” Aquino and Maurice Edsel Salvana, awarded for his work in microfinance and HIV/AIDS respectively; the English lawyer Bobby Kensah for his social work with young gang members in England; Fela Mijoro Razafinjato of the Maldive Islands for his work with persons with disabilities and the environmental leader Keneilwe Mosekis of Botswana, among others. [en línea]Madrid (ESP):, 12 November of 2012 [REF. 30 October of 2012] Available on Internet:

Occlutech Wins Award for excellence in medical technology (MedTech) 2012

8 11 2012

The European Tech Tour Association, an independent organization non-profit committed to the development of emerging technology companies from Europe, announced that it has selected Occlutech to receive the award for excellence in medical technology (MedTech) 2012.

The award was presented during the European MedTech Summit gala dinner 2012 held in Lausanne, Switzerland, by Dr. Brian Hashemi, Associated administrative of Salus Partners, who said: «Occlutech represents excellence in the development of innovative technologies in the area of heart occlusion minimally invasive». Innovative devices such as permeable foramen ovale occlusion (FOP) they have improved the therapy in this area of rapid advance, «bringing significant benefits to the health of thousands of patients around the world».

Tor Peters, Founder and Executive Director of Occlutech, manifest: «This recognition means a lot to Occlutech», employees, suppliers and customers, all of which have provided enormous support throughout the last years. Develop a company is a task of set and I am very grateful to the team, «including customers and opinion leaders that have supported us to achieve this possible».

Occlutech, ( is a leading developer in products for occlusion and cardiac intervention minimally invasive, with manufacturing facilities and development in various European countries.

Salus Partners, ( is a Swiss consulting firm, leader in the provision of services for the optimization of health areas, investments in health and corporate services.

The European Tech Tour Association, ( It is an independent organization non-profit composed of key contributors for the high-tech industry. The Association recognizes that the continuation of prosperity in Europe lies in its ability to transform the current innovative projects into future leaders of global technology. [en línea]Lima (PER):, 08 November of 2012 [REF. 22 October of 2012] Available on Internet:

Health and design. Dr JM. Monguet Fierro.

5 11 2012

Josep M. Monguet Fierro

Dr. Industrial engineer, Professor of theUPCand researcher in i2Cat



Our relationship, as users, the health system passes through various stages, in the first, birth of children, illusion emotions i do that it goes relatively unnoticed the qualities of the provided services. When you relate later again with hospitals, because your parents get older, so the perception is different. Several of my fellow designers found with some surprise the deficits of "design" in the hospitals and the health system in general, and I agree with them to comment all that there is to do.


In a few years, the design has made a spectacular tour, passing, be an almost exclusive field of Arts applied to industrial production and communication, to become one of the focal points in the field of business and in a driving determinant of innovation. From time to time appears some new "buzz word" that feeds this pop-up and still unknown territory of co-creation, of design thinking (design thinking) , design management, the co-design, user-centered design, etc.


The focus of innovation has also moved, technological innovation is no longer the only Center of interest, organizational innovation is relatively assumed by many companies, and is the design which now appears as one of the cornerstones of innovation. However this is not true in all fields. Certain sectors of industry and services, where the rules gives the competition are harder, they innovate with certain ease lest they be market sweeps. Other sectors react more slowly, in part by the lack of the incentives and motivations that brings the fact that the market is competitive. The latter is the case of the market's health in Spain, as we all know is largely planned and competitiveness has many limitations.


We said a year ago[1] in some areas of health, It investigates in a systematic way with high quality, While in others, as for example the processes, the progress of innovations is very difficult. An archipelago of scientific excellence in a sea of drift processes, that seriously considered the design factor could be a good strategy to address the needs of the health system improvement.


What is design today?? Thinking in design mode requires to manage at the same time creativity, reason and emotion. The designer can mingle the sources of inspiration with the conceptualization and implementation and testing of proposals. The health sector is an area with great potential for the implementation of new ideas if addressed with an appropriate methodology, and the design can certainly contribute. There are many categories of design, ranging from the systematic application of evidence, the case of ergonomics, up working modes free open i in which seek new approaches or services that are invented.


There are those who work through the prism of the design, at the international level include cases like the clinic may or Kaiser Permanente, and local field deserve special attention the case of the Pediatric Hospital of Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona. These and other cases show of vivid shape design strategy leading to tangible and useful innovation results.


The current crisis, as said the businessman José Mª Pujol, It is indeed a war for jobs, and so you have options in this war, one of the things we can do is to promote a powerful alliance health- design, allowing us to see health not as a source of expenditures, but as a space for opportunities. The problem arising from inefficiencies in the processes of prevention, treatment, diagnosis and monitoring of our health, they are good excuses for designers, engineers and managers, with the leadership of doctors, build the new space of the steady improvement in health services. No small matter, is that if we are able to build that space, many young people find their personal performance options contributing to redesign the health care system.


The most important thing, as always, not to give up.


Is mobile health about to enter a patent thicket?

1 11 2012

By Orion Armon, IP Litigation practice group, Cooley LLP


Until now, the mHealth industry has experienced relatively few patent infringement conflicts, and little or no litigation instituted by non-practicing entities. But these trends may be disrupted within the next few years.  Companies in the medical device, computer, networking, and communications industries are all patenting in the mHealth space, and the likely result will be a thicket of overlapping patents on mHealth products and their components. As the patent thicket grows, patent infringement conflicts likely will increase—especially as mHealth technologies mature and winners within the industry emerge.

To help you navigate the patent thicket, this article discusses the current patent landscape in the mHealth industry and concludes with recommendations that mHealth companies could pursue to manage their intellectual property more effectively and reduce patent infringement risk.

Summary of Findings

  • The number of mHealth patents issued by the Patent Office has increased steadily since 2000 (when the number of mHealth patent applications was negligible), and will continue to surge until at least 2014.
  • Large companies are winning the mHealth patent race by obtaining the vast majority of newly-issued mHealth patents.
  • Intellectual Ventures, a non-practicing patent aggregator, is patenting aggressively in the mHealth space.  Licensing demands and litigation from IV (and possibly other NPEs) are sure to follow.
  • Almost half of the top twenty mHealth patent holders are not mHealth companies, or even medical device developers.
  • The incidence of mHealth patent infringement conflicts likely will increase as companies become more profitable and patent portfolios mature.  To manage patent infringement risk, companies should consider the following options:
  1. If you have never been sued, consider purchasing insurance;
  2. Properly structure IP indemnification rights and obligations;
  3. Build-out your patent portfolio—even ancillary improvements in the mHealth space may become critical if they are widely adopted by your competitors;
  4. 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;
  5. Monitor competitors’ patent filings and patent portfolios, and consider making pre-issuance submissions of prior art during prosecution of competitors’ patents;
  6. 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
  7. If competitors are infringing, consider enforcing your patents before your competitors’ patent portfolios mature.


So Far, No Significant Uptick in mHealth Litigation Activity

The mHealth industry has seen a few patent infringement lawsuits this year, including the following notable cases:

  • CardioNet filed lawsuits against MedNet Healthcare, MedTel 24, Rhythm Watch, AMI Cardiac Monitoring, ScottCare, and Ambucore Health Solutions;
  • Robert Bosch Healthcare filed lawsuits against ExpressMD, MedApps, Waldo Health, and Cardiocom; and
  • BodyMedia filed a lawsuit against Basis Science.

The volume of patent litigation in the mHealth industry is low relative to related industries such as the computer, smartphone, and medical device industries. The following factors likely play a role in damping the amount of patent litigation in the mHealth industry:

  • The difficult funding environment and poor economy make the expense of litigation unpalatable;
  • The industry is rapidly evolving and it is unclear which technologies and solutions will be profitable “winners”; and
  • Many companies are still in the process of building their patent portfolios.

The influence of these factors will wane as the economy stabilizes, the mHealth industry matures, and companies obtain more patents on mHealth technologies. Some mHealth companies are already becoming more aggressive about defending their intellectual property rights.

For example, AirStrip, a company that offers a mobile patient monitoring platform, announced in September 2012 that it obtained a patent (U.S. Patent No. 8,255,238) on technology for sending and displaying physiologic data on a mobile device. In an interview with MobiHealthNews, AirStrip’s President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Cameron Powell, claimed that his company’s patents cover “taking any type of physiologic data—whether that’s from a sensor in the shoe, a home monitor, a blood pressure cuff, or a monitor in the hospital—and then re-rendering it on a native or HTML5 application on a mobile device.” At the time, Powell noted that, “[t]he message here to the industry is not that we are issuing this press release to stop every company out there who is doing this, [but], who knows, there may be a few fringe players who we have an issue with.” More recently, on October 18, 2012, AirStrip filed a lawsuit against mVisum, Inc. in the Southern District of New York alleging that mVisum’s CCS, Live Stream, OB, and onDemand products infringe AirStrip’s ‘238 patent. As is typical in such lawsuits, AirStrip’s Complaint requests an injunction barring future infringement, treble damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Similarly, after filing several lawsuits against competitors in the home health monitoring field, Robert Bosch Healthcare’s spokeswoman declared that “[w]e feel it is important to demonstrate that IP is important, and not just to our company. Bosch Healthcare Systems, like most high-tech companies, values its intellectual property as an essential asset of its business. Bosch is open to working with those companies that are interested in securing this technology through a licensing agreement, and we are in discussion with numerous companies in this regard.”

Patent owners in many industries tout their patent rights and use their patents to attack alleged infringers. AirStrip’s and Robert Bosch Healthcare’s actions are notable because they seem to indicate that mHealth companies are becoming more assertive about their patent rights. Loudly advertising patent rights and filing patent infringement lawsuits tends to create insecurities in competitors that may spark patent arms races or precipitate business disputes that result in additional litigation.


Statistics On mHealth Patenting Activity

The sections that follow summarize some key aspects of patenting activity associated with the mHealth industry. Before discussing the numbers, it is important to understand the methodologies I used in my research, to help you understand some inherent limitations in the data I collected.

There is no agreed definition of mHealth, and no government or private sector entity (that I am aware of) which tracks mHealth patents. Categorizing mHealth patents one at a time would take years, so I resorted to key word searching several comprehensive patent databases to collect information about mHealth patents. I believe that patents covering component parts of mHealth products can be as important to mHealth companies as patents covering entire mHealth products, so I used relatively broad search strings in my research. I performed full text key word searches using the following search string: (health or “health care” or healthcare or medical) and (wireless or WiFi).I am sure that the keywords I selected were both over-inclusive and under-inclusive, so you should not treat the charts below as objective data on the absolute number of mHealth patents and applications in the system. Rather, focus on the trends revealed by the charts, which are very instructive and less likely to mislead.

mHealth Companies are Investing Heavily in Patent Protection and Large Numbers of Patents Will Issue in the Next Few Years

The chart immediately below provides a rough estimate of the volume of patent applications related to mHealth filed in the United States each year. Thousands of patent applications related to mHealth are being filed each year, and the number of applications has increased steadily since 2000. The Patent Office’s historical grant rate is slightly above 50 percent, and the average pendency for a patent application is about three years. In other words, the large number of patent applications that were filed between 2008 and 2011 will soon begin issuing as patents.

The next chart provides a rough estimate of the number of patents related to mHealth that issued since 2000.  Issuance of new patents spiked in 2010, approximately two years after the surge in mHealth-related patent applications.  The spike in new patents will continue into 2013 and 2014, as the Patent Office finishes processing the slew of applications filed in 2010 and 2011.

Considering the number of pending and issued patents that relate to mHealth, it is likely that the mHealth industry will soon find itself in a patent thicket, in which many different patent owners hold blocking patents on widely-adopted, essential technologies.  Patent thickets tend to increase the cost of doing business for established companies (money losing start-ups are rarely sued for patent infringement).

The Poor Economy and Tight Funding Environment are Hampering Small Entities’ Patenting Efforts, and Large Companies are Capturing the Majority of the mHealth IP Frontier

The two charts below indicate that large companies are capturing the vast majority of intellectual property related to mHealth. It is likely that large companies’ research, development, and patent budgets were less impacted by the sour economy than smaller companies’ budgets.  The likely result of this funding disparity is that large companies are probably capturing most of the foundational mHealth patents granted by the Patent Office.


The Appearance of Non-Practicing Entities Signals that Patent Monetization Will Bedevil mHealth Providers

One large patent holder in the mHealth space is Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures (“IV”) Invention Science Fund I, which owns several hundred patents. IV is a non-practicing entity (NPE) patent aggregator that purchases patent portfolios and files additional, continuation patent applications to extend the portfolios to cover IV’s key licensing targets.  IV is notorious for attempting to “cover” an industry with patents. Once it does so, it demands hefty license fees for the use of its intellectual property.

When IV was founded, it proclaimed that it would not file lawsuits to enforce its patents. More recently, IV dispensed with that policy and began initiating lawsuits to compel alleged infringers to purchase licenses to its portfolio. In addition to filing its own patent infringement lawsuits, IV sells patents to third parties for enforcement, or partners with third-parties who enforce the patents and return a share of litigation proceeds to IV.

IV’s presence in the mHealth marketplace signals that mHealth companies will have to contend with NPE lawsuits. NPEs typically focus on profitable companies, so mHealth start-ups should be able to avoid NPE lawsuits—at least while their revenues are low and they remain unprofitable.

NPE lawsuits are not only the result of patent acquisitions by aggregators like Intellectual Ventures.  Companies from the computer, medical device, networking, and communications industries are pursuing technologies relevant to mHealth and they are investing massive amounts of money to patent their inventions. Many companies who obtain patents related to mHealth will fail, and when they do, some founders and investors will attempt to recoup their investments by selling patents to patent aggregators like IV, or by enforcing the patents themselves. Failed companies are not vulnerable to patent infringement counterclaims, so investors and founders often become more aggressive about enforcing patents after a company ceases operations.

The Convergence of Communications, Computer, Networking, and Health Care Technologies Results in Many Non-Healthcare Companies Owning mHealth Patents

Another notable mHealth patent trend is that almost half of the top twenty patent holders identified in my research are not pure-play mHealth companies, or even medical device makers. Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Cisco, HP, Broadcom, Honeywell, Nokia, Motorola, and Sony each own hundreds of patents on technologies that relate to mHealth.  This convergence of competitors from other industries is simultaneously spurring innovation and growth in the mHealth field and creating barriers to entry for some mHealth start-ups. On the other hand, mHealth companies can benefit from the presence of these technology behemoths’ participation in the mHealth space by using commodity components (e.g., cellular components from Nokia or operating system software from Microsoft) in their products. Purchasing components keeps prices down, and may, as a practical matter, provide mHealth companies some protection from these players’ patents.  Large companies like Microsoft and Nokia also tend to be more reliable about indemnifying their customers if components in customers’ products are accused of infringement.

Observations and Recommendations

The information I collected about the mHealth patent landscape reveals four major trends:

  • Medical device, communications, and computer companies are all actively patenting technologies related to mHealth
  • Big companies are winning the patent race and capturing the majority of the IP
  • The mHealth intellectual property frontier is closing rapidly (or already may be closed) to companies who seek foundational mHealth patents
  • As mHealth patent holdings increase, barriers to enter the mHealth industry also will generally increase

If current trends continue, companies in the mHealth industry will eventually find themselves in a patent thicket, in which non-practicing entities are more aggressive about demanding license revenues, and competitor patent infringement lawsuits are much more prevalent than they are today.

To help safeguard their interests as the mHealth patent landscape grows more treacherous, mHealth companies should consider the following options for strengthening their patent rights and decreasing patent infringement risk:

Insurance: If your company is small and has never been sued for patent infringement, you can obtain a patent infringement policy for a relatively modest sum. Insurance will help ensure that your business is not derailed by an infringement lawsuit.

Carefully Manage Indemnification Rights and Obligations: Pay careful attention to your business relationships, and ensure that you are properly indemnified by your suppliers, and that you are not unwise about the scope of indemnification that you offer your partners and customers.

Rapidly Build-Out Your Patent Portfolio:Your patenting strategy should cover key innovations and product differentiators. But do not overlook ancillary improvements, which could become critical to your company if they are widely adopted by your competitors. If you have key mHealth inventions ready for patenting, it may be worthwhile to speed the issuance of those patents using the Patent Office’s Track 1 process.

Streamline Your Internal Invention Disclosure, Review, and Filing Process: In early 2013, the United States patent system will convert from a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” system. The new system rewards inventors who file patent applications as early as possible—and bars others’ later-filed applications. The importance of filing patent applications early is even greater in a new field like mHealth, where the technology frontier is still open. Also consider accelerating the examination of key patent applications using the USPTO’s Track 1 process.

Proactively Monitor Competitors’ Patenting Activities: In a crowded and fast growing field, it is especially important to gather competitive, timely intelligence about competitors’ applications and patents. Here’s why:

  • The recently-enacted America Invents Act allows companies to make pre-issuance submissions of prior art during prosecution of competitors’ patents, which may improve the quality of the patent examination process and help ensure that competitors do not obtain overly-broad patent claims. Pre-issuance submissions may only be made during brief windows during the patent examination process.
  • The America Invents Act established a post-grant review process that allows companies to challenge the patentability of competitors’ newly-issued patents on nearly any ground of patentability (this is a major change from previous patent reexamination procedures). But post-grant review is only available during the first nine months after patent issuance (with some exceptions, post-grant review is only available for “first inventor to file” patents).
  • The America Invents Acts establishes new “derivation proceedings” to allow companies to recover an invention that was stolen and separately patented. But a derivation proceeding can only be initiated within the first year after a “first inventor to file” patent issues.

Proactively Cross-License Patents: Many companies would be better-off if they cross-licensed their patents with other key IP owners. When cross-licenses are structured properly, they can decrease or eliminate litigation, expand freedom to operate, and hasten market acceptance of new technologies. Another strategy for reducing infringement risk is to use licensed components from a large patent holder or from companies who have obtained key cross-licenses.

In Competitor Versus Competitor Lawsuits, Timing Is Everything: If your competitors are infringing your patents, consider whether you can enforce your patent rights before your competitors’ patent portfolios mature.

If Your Company Does Not Own Any Patents, Reevaluate Your Strategy: Small companies often forego patent protection because the patenting process is expensive.  Sometimes, foregoing patent rights is a wise business decision. There are significant trade-offs associated with allocating funds to patenting rather than sales or marketing. But over the long-term, owning patents can be important.  Patents are a powerful deterrent, even to large companies. Large companies that sue smaller companies often find themselves “upside down” when an infringement counter-suit is filed, because the small patent owner is eligible to collect damages on a much larger royalty base. Your patents may also be an important asset even if your product offerings fail to win in the marketplace.

Contact Your Congressional Representatives: Despite Congress’ recent passage of the America Invents Act, debate continues over the efficacy of America’s patent system. If you believe that the patent system requires further adjustment, speak with your congressional representatives. At least some members of Congress have expressed interest in implementing additional reforms to the patent system.

Orion Armon is a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation practice group and a member of Cooley’s Litigation department. He joined the Firm in 2003 and is resident in the Colorado office.Cooley LLP is an international law firm for the converging worlds of technology, finance and high-stakes litigation. The Firm’s business and litigation practices reach across a broad array of dynamic industry sectors, including technology, life sciences, clean tech, real estate, financial services, retail and energy. With 650 attorneys throughout the United States and in Shanghai, Cooley has the range and expertise to help companies of all sizes seize opportunities and secure their successes around the world. [en línea] Mebane, NC (USA):, 01 November of 2012 [REF. 23 October of 2012] Available on Internet: