MMRGlobal awarded online PHR patent, broadening scope of its health IT suite

By Anthony Brino
07:15 AM

MMRGlobal has secured a U.S. patent for its online personal health record (PHR) system, adding to the Los Angeles-based tech firm’s health IT patent portfolio.

The patent, titled "Method and System for Providing Online Records," was awarded October 30, about a year before the start of Meaningful Use rules requiring providers to offer patients Internet access to their health records.

"It is my hope the news surrounding the issuance of the company's patents will continue to increase awareness of the importance of having a personal health record to protect our families and pets in the face of recent disasters and the prediction of more to come,” MMRGlobal founder and CEO Robert Lorsch said in a news release.

The patent expands MMR’s current health IT portfolio, with several other patents covering various aspects of PHR technology. “MyMedicalRecords” is one of the firm’s main products and it also holds various bio-tech patents.

Because the company’s health IT patents were filed before the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use, Lorsch said, the “patent portfolio makes it difficult for eligible healthcare professionals to fully qualify for incentives under the HITECH Act without licensing from MMR.”

“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,” Lorsch said in September, as the patent application was working its way toward approval. “This overriding patent will help protect the integrity of our products and raise the bar for PHRs,” Lorsch, the inventor listed on several of MMR health IT patents, said.

[See also: Most states engaged in Medicaid care coordination efforts]

MMR has said in a press release that it has begun licensing and enforcing the rights to its patent portfolio through the Los Angeles law firm known as Liner, which has started sending 250 letters a week to hospitals, medical groups, pharmacies and other healthcare professionals in an effort to license the MMR IP.

MMR’s patent comes amid the so-called patent wars in the greater tech economy, and some open source advocates have expressed concerns about potential harm to innovation.

A recent health IT patent case in the U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit has led to broader standards for suing under an area of patent law called induced infringement. Judges on the circuit had previously thrown out an infringement suit filed by McKesson against Epic. The judges found that Epic’s PHR was similar but unique, having patients, not the software, perform some of the steps protected by McKesson’s patent. Reversing itself in August, a panel of eleven judges voted to let the case proceed.