Internet as a tool


Open communication and dialogue of clinical needs and discoveries is crucial to the future of medicine, including continuous improvement in medical technologies and reduction in healthcare cost. There are an increasing number of medical related social media sites cropping up every day (e.g. Sermo, doc2doc, doctorshangout, imedexchange,, spineconnect, socialmd, ozmosis). The Internet opens the door to broad dissemination of information and sharing, which physicians should leverage.

Once a physician advances an observation into a solution (e.g. a medical device), however, the clinician should take more caution in openly sharing this information. If you are considering utilizing a cloud-based technology for interacting with collaborators, sponsors, or outsourced resources, insure that the service is secure and robust and has a defined method for keeping your ideas confidential. Whenever communicating any details of a potential invention, always consult intellectual property legal counsel.

Analogous to working with collaborators, sponsors, and vendors in the “real world”, physician inventors should expect the same level of due diligence when interacting in the Cloud.

The Internet allows an individual inventor to achieve unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness.  In addition to potential collaborators and funding sources, an individual inventor that has limited financing can utilize the Internet to access basic legal contracts (e.g. confidentiality agreements, LLC incorporation, etc.) at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney.  LegalZoom® is a great example of the Internet enabling more efficient legal services.  Although more complex patent applications may require a patent attorney experienced in medical devices, there are many standard documents that a service like LegalZoom can supply.