News Column

"Methods and Systems for Tracking Occurrences and Non-Occurrences of Medical-Related Events" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Vaccine Weekly -- A patent application by the inventor Braun, Lauren R. (Indianapolis, IN), filed on September 18, 2013, was made available online on January 23, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by NewsRx correspondents (see also Patents).

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to medical technology and in particular aspects to wearable articles and related methods and systems for tracking whether one or more medical-related events have occurred.

"As further background, children in developing countries are much more likely to survive childhood if they receive immunizations in a timely manner. If more children in developing countries are successfully immunized, in addition to the clear life saving benefits, the people and governments of those countries will incur lower costs by preventing vaccine-preventable diseases instead of treating them.

"Immunization protocols vary by region depending on the diseases prevalent there. Under some current childhood immunization protocols such as those used in the Cusco region of Peru for example, between birth and age 4, babies are scheduled to receive 10 different vaccinations in the form of 20 total shots. In other regions, children may be scheduled to receive more or fewer than 10 different vaccinations. For example, in the Amazon region of Peru as compared to the Cusco region, children are currently scheduled to more vaccinations to account for certain tropical diseases. The majority of the vaccines are given in a series of two or three shots. Each shot is scheduled to be administered on a particular date following the baby's birth, and often multiple different vaccines are administered on the same day.

"However, for a variety of reasons, children in developing countries are often unable to successfully complete an immunization program. Immunization problems in developing countries include parents not knowing how many vaccines their child needs, how many and which vaccines their child has received, when and/or where the next vaccination is scheduled to be given, and the exact age of their child, among other challenges.

"Thus, despite the fourth UN Millennium Development Goal to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015, which includes 'ensuring full coverage of immunization programs', children in developing countries continue to experience lack of immunizations or incomplete immunizations.

"For these and other reasons, there remain needs for improved and/or alternative methods and systems for tracking whether one or more medical-related events have occurred. The present invention is addressed to those needs."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides, in certain aspects, unique methods and systems for tracking occurrence and non-occurrences of medical-related events.

"In one particular embodiment, the invention provides a method for tracking whether one or more medical-related events have occurred at a particular time or during a particular time interval. As part of this method, a band of material is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient. There are multiple, separately-identifiable regions along the band including at least a first region and second region. The first region corresponds to a first particular time or first particular time interval, and the second region corresponds to a second particular time or second particular time interval. The method further includes indicating that a first medical-related event has occurred at the first particular time or during the first particular time interval which includes removing a segment of material from the first region, and indicating that a second medical-related event has occurred at the second particular time or during the second particular time interval which includes removing a segment of material from the second region. At least one of the medical-related events can be or involve the administration of a drug or therapy to the patient. Illustratively, in one preferred embodiment, the first medical-related event is the administration of a first dose of a first medicament to the patient, and the second medical-related event is the administration of a second dose of that same medicament to the patient.

"In another aspect, the present invention provides a medical device for tracking whether one or more doses of at least one medicament have been administered to a patient. This particular device comprises an article which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient and which includes a length of flexible material which can provide a loop to be placed around a body part of the patient. The flexible material along the loop includes a plurality of predetermined removable segments which are each removable from the length of flexible material for indicating whether a particular medicament or dose of a medicament has been administered to the patient. As one example, the medical device might be specifically adapted to be worn about a wrist or ankle of the patient. With regard to the predetermined removable segments, they might have a reduced thickness relative to other portions of the length of flexible material and/or the length of flexible material might otherwise incorporate weakened portions of the flexible material that are adapted to facilitate predictable removal of the predetermined removable segments along predictable paths dictated by the weakened portions. This and some other inventive devices can be configured for tracking the administration of multiple different medicaments, e.g., one, two, three, four, five, six or more medicaments, to a patient.

"Another aspect of the invention provides a method for tracking the administration of one or more medicaments to a patient. As part of this method, an article is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient. The article includes a first portion that has relevance to the administration of a first dose of a medicament to the patient, and a second portion that has relevance to the administration of a second dose of the medicament to the patient. This method further includes indicating the administration of the first dose of the medicament to the patient which includes modifying the first portion in a generally predetermined fashion, and indicating the administration of the second dose of the medicament to the patient which includes modifying the second portion in a generally predetermined fashion. Illustratively, modifying the first portion might involve modifying the orientation or shape of the first portion, for example, by removing part of the first portion.

"A further embodiment of the invention provides a method for tracking the occurrence of one or more medical-related events. As part of this method, an article is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient. This method further includes indicating the occurrence of a first medical-related event that has relevance to a first portion of the article. Indicating the occurrence of the first medical-related event includes modifying the orientation or shape of the first portion. This first portion might be or include a generally flat, flexible segment of material where modification of the segment might involve, for example, removing and discarding a piece of the segment (e.g., an interior piece of the generally flat, flexible segment). In one preferred embodiment, the generally flat, flexible segment is outfitted with pre-manufactured weakened portions which are adapted to facilitate predictable removal of the piece along a predictable path dictated by the weakened portions. In further embodiments, one or more additional medical-related events are tracked with such an article. For example, the article may have a second portion having relevance to a second medical-related event, and a user can indicate the occurrence of the second medical-related event, e.g., by modifying the orientation or shape of the second portion. With such a device, the first and second medical-related events might be the same general event but occurring at different times (e.g., the administration of a first and second dose of a particular drug, first and second applications of a particular medical therapy, the performance of a particular medical test and a repeat to that test, etc.). Alternatively, as one more example, the first medical-related event might be the administration of a first drug to the patient at a particular time or during a particular time interval, and the second medical-related event might be the administration of a second, different drug to the patient at a particular time or during a particular time interval, whether the timing of the administration of the second drug is the same or different than the timing of the administration of the first drug.

"Yet another embodiment of the present invention provides a method for tracking the occurrence of one or more medical-related events. As part of this method, an article is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient. This method further includes indicating the occurrence of a first medical-related event having relevance to a first region of the article which includes removing a first portion of the first region. Although not necessary to broader aspects of this article, the removed portion might be one that was pre-established by the manufacturer to make the portion readily removable from the article, for example, where weakened portions are incorporated into the article to facilitate a generally predictable removal of the portion from the article. In some preferred forms, the article is outfitted such that the occurrence of a second medical-related event which also has relevance to the first region of the article is indicated, e.g., by removing a second portion of the first region. With such an article, as one example, the first medical-related event might be the administration of a first medicament, and the second medical-related event might be the administration of a second medicament. In this regard, the first portion and the second portion might be differently shaped with the shape of the first portion having relevance to the first medical-related event and the shape of the second portion having relevance to the second medical-related event. As another illustrative example, in some other preferred forms, the article might be outfitted such that the occurrence of a second medical-related event which has relevance to a second region of the article is indicated by removing a first portion of the second region. With such an article, as one example, the first medical-related event might be the administration of a first dose of a drug, and the second medical-related event might be the administration of a second dose of the same drug.

"In another aspect, the invention provides a method for tracking the occurrence of one or more medical-related events. As part of this method, an article is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient (e.g., around an ankle or wrist of the patient). This method further includes indicating the occurrence of a first medical-related event having relevance to a first portion of the article which includes modifying the first portion in a generally predetermined fashion. Such a modification might involve removing part of the first portion, for example, a less-than-full amount of the first portion (e.g., where the first portion incorporates a series of pre-manufactured disruption points that define a particular shaped path along a surface of the article and which are designed to facilitate separation of material generally along this shaped path). The article might be designed so that such a removal creates an opening in a wall of the article (e.g., where the opening is substantially or completely surrounded by material of the wall). Alternatively, as another example, such a modification might involve the association of a separate, additional component with the first portion. Such a component can be associated with the first portion in any number of manners including, for example, by bonding, coupling, connecting, etc. the component to the first portion. As yet another example, such a modification might otherwise involve altering the shape of the first portion or altering its orientation with respect to other portions of the article.

"In a further embodiment, the invention provides a wearable band for tracking whether one or more medical-related events have occurred. This band comprises a circumferential band of material that includes at least a first region and a second region along the band. The first region includes a first predetermined removable segment which has relevance to a first medical-related event, and the second region includes a second predetermined removable segment which has relevance to a second medical-related event. In one preferred form, the first predetermined removable segment has a first shape that corresponds to a first particular medical treatment or therapy, and the second predetermined removable segment has a second shape which is different to the first shape and which corresponds to a second particular medical treatment or therapy. With some of these bands, the first region might represent a first particular time or time interval, and the second region might represent a second particular time or time interval that is different from the first particular time or time interval.

"In a further embodiment, the invention provides a medical article which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient for tracking the administration of one or more medicaments to the patient. This article comprises a wearable device which includes a band of material (e.g., a generally flat band of material) that incorporates a plurality of removable segments that are removable from the band without reducing the length of the band. Each of the removable segments has significance with regard to whether a particular medicament or dose of a medicament has been administered to the patient. While not necessary to broader aspects of the article, the removable segments might be fixedly attached and detachable from the band.

"In a further embodiment, the invention provides a method for tracking the occurrence of one or more medical-related events. As part of this method, a circumferential band of material is provided which is capable of being worn about the body of a patient. The band includes multiple, separately-identifiable regions along the band including at least a first region and a second region. Each of the regions has relevance to a particular medical-related event. This method further includes indicating the occurrence of a first medical-related event which includes altering the first region, and indicating the occurrence of a second medical-related event which includes altering the second region.

"The above-described features, when suitably interchangeable or combinable between or among inventive embodiments, will be understood to be interchangeable or combinable in such a fashion.

"Other objects, embodiments, forms, features, advantages, aspects, and benefits of the present invention shall become apparent from the detailed description and drawings included herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a partial view of a medical article according to one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2A is a partial, perspective view of a medical article with a square-shaped removable segment according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2B shows the medical article of FIG. 3A with the square-shaped segment having been removed.

"FIG. 3A provides a cross-sectional view of the band of FIG. 2A along the view line 3A-3A shown in FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 3B provides a cross-section view of another inventive band.

"FIG. 3C provides a cross-section view of yet another inventive band.

"FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a wearable band according to one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 is a partial view of a medical article according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 is a partial view of another inventive medical article.

"FIG. 7 is a partial view of another inventive medical article.

"FIG. 8 is a partial view of another inventive medical article.

"FIG. 9 is a partial view of another inventive medical article.

"FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a wearable band according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 10B is a perspective view of a wearable band according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 11A is a partial view of a medical article according to one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 11B is a partial view of the medical article of FIG. 13A.

"FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a wearable band according to another embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a wearable band according to another embodiment of the present invention."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Braun, Lauren R. Methods and Systems for Tracking Occurrences and Non-Occurrences of Medical-Related Events. Filed September 18, 2013 and posted January 23, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6509&p=131&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140116.PD.&OS=PD/20140116&RS=PD/20140116

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Therapy, Treatment, Pediatric Vaccines.

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Source: Vaccine Weekly


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