A medical device manufacturer spreads information to save lives

Published on 21 Dec 2011

Validated on 04 Jun 2013

"This project represents a major achievement for us. It offers unique innovations that further improve patient safety, physician workload and cost effectiveness of patient care." - — Product manager at a medical device manufacturer

Customer:
A medical device manufacturer

Industry:
Electronics, Healthcare

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Business-to-Business, Enabling Business Flexibility, Industry Framework , Openness, Product & Service Innovation, Service Oriented Architecture, Smart Work, Smarter Planet, Systems Engineering

Smarter Planet:
Smart Products, Smarter Healthcare

Overview

Today, many people with heart disease and other debilitating conditions have a much better quality of life than was once possible. Implantable devices such as miniature cardiac defibrillators and neurostimulators have given them the freedom to enjoy what is perhaps the greatest gift of all: an ordinary life. A manufacturer of implantable devices and provider of support services is a leader in this field, providing not only implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), but also technology that helps patients with neurological and chronic pain conditions.

Business need:
The system’s core function of sharing cardiac information via the web leads to faster response, greater clinical efficiency and improved physician productivity. What makes it unique, though, is the way in which it uses cardiac data. By automatically adding this information to the patient’s electronic health records (EHR)—an industry first—the system can contribute to making the healthcare system as a whole more streamlined, efficient and effective.

Solution:
The project was a strong team effort on both sides. IBM Global Business Services® took the lead on the system with a global team of experts based in the United States, Canada and India. The IBM team provided end-to-end project management, design, development, testing and architecture skills. IBM developed the web application along with the associated data management system and supporting middleware that lies at the heart of the system, and built a service-oriented architecture infrastructure that houses it. The company’s experts worked alongside IBM, developing the needed ICD connectivity.

Benefits:
• Provides an industry-first ability to integrate with patient electronic health records using standard data formats that support efforts to streamline the healthcare system • Makes vitally important cardiac monitoring available to doctors in real time, without the need for patients to visit the hospital—saving as much as 41 percent of the cost of follow-up care • Enables better medical decision making based on more comprehensive data • Generates automated alerts in the event of trouble, enabling faster response

Case Study

Today, many people with heart disease and other debilitating conditions have a much better quality of life than was once possible. Implantable devices such as miniature cardiac defibrillators and neurostimulators have given them the freedom to enjoy what is perhaps the greatest gift of all: an ordinary life.

A manufacturer of implantable devices and provider of support services is a leader in this field, providing not only implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), but also technology that helps patients with neurological and chronic pain conditions.

Information unlocks the potential of implantable devices
Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common cardiac issues. By itself, it is usually not life threatening and often shows no symptoms. Nevertheless, it can lead directly to more serious problems up to and including cardiac arrest. Correctly applied electrical stimulation—defibrillation—can bring the heart back into synchronization and avoid a life-threatening escalation. When an ICD senses a fibrillation event, it engages automatically and instantly.

Before remote monitoring became possible, getting information was difficult. Patients could be monitored only during office visits, so doctors had to make important decisions based only on brief and intermittent glimpses of the patient’s condition.

Remote monitoring has revolutionized this branch of cardiac care. By providing a means for patients to transmit the data from wherever they are, remote monitoring can give doctors vitally needed information without a hospital visit. For those in isolated areas, this can be a life-saving capability—literally.

Taking the next step: Making information more available
To realize its true value, cardiac data has to be shared across the patient’s entire team of healthcare professionals. That is the key that can unlock better patient care.

The company made this capability a strategic priority, and saw an opportunity to go above and beyond similar efforts by its competitors with a system built to more rigorous standards and offering a higher level of capability. To bring this vision to life, the company teamed with IBM to develop an award-winning care system that was recognized for its contribution to the advancement of medical product design.

The system provides a centralized data capture, storage and dissemination service, hosted by the company and available to clinicians any time, anywhere connectivity is available. For patients, using it is as simple as sitting close to the wireless transmitter in their home, which automatically interrogates their ICD and downloads its data.

The system’s dynamic web application provides secure access to, and management of, medical, demographic, administrative and electromechanical data stored in the system’s database. The system organizes the data for faster analysis and easy review, and produces a dynamic view of device and clinical trends. It can be programmed to send alerts so doctors know when data is ready to be reviewed. Since patients can transmit data whenever they wish, routine monitoring is much more convenient for both patient and doctor; neither one needs to be in a particular place at a particular time for checkups to take place.

The key to the platform’s data-sharing capabilities is sophisticated information management, enabled through a messaging platform based on service-oriented architecture and built on IBM WebSphere® software, which automatically moves the information to where it needs to be. The custom web applications were developed and tested using a comprehensive set of IBM Rational® tools, which help the team produce new, enhanced versions more quickly and efficiently. IBM System p® and System x® servers house the data, applications and development environment.

Getting critical information where it needs to be
The system’s core function of sharing cardiac information via the web leads to faster response, greater clinical efficiency and improved physician productivity. What makes it unique, though, is the way in which it uses cardiac data. By automatically adding this information to the patient’s electronic health records (EHR)—an industry first—the system can contribute to making the healthcare system as a whole more streamlined, efficient and effective.

This groundbreaking capability has significant implications. With automatic updating of EHRs, vital cardiac information becomes available immediately to all caregivers who access these records, even if they are not part of the core cardiac care team. That can be important in a critical situation. For example, an emergency room doctor who might not otherwise know about the patient’s cardiac condition will be able to make a possibly life-saving decision because that data is available, current and complete.

The system has given the company a platform that helps it to succeed in today’s marketplace and carry it into the future, enabling it to deliver on its promise to the industry and patients. A product manager sums it up well: “This project represents a major achievement for us. It offers unique innovations that further improve patient safety, physician workload and cost-effectiveness of patient care.”

Business Benefits
• Provides an industry-first ability to integrate with patient electronic health records using standard data formats that support efforts to streamline the healthcare system
• Makes vitally important cardiac monitoring available to doctors in real time, without the need for patients to visit the hospital—saving as much as 41 percent of the cost of follow-up care
• Enables better medical decision making based on more comprehensive data
• Generates automated alerts in the event of trouble, enabling faster response

The Inside Story: Getting There
A medical device manufacturer saw the creation of a care system as a key strategic move, one that would enable it to maintain a leadership position in the implantable medical device market.

The company, with strong skills in the development of hardware, embedded software and firmware for the ICD and monitoring system itself, sought to team with a partner that could offer complementary expertise in web development and project management. Because of successful past collaborations, they knew that IBM was an ideal choice for the project.

The project was a strong team effort on both sides. IBM Global Business Services® took the lead on the system with a global team of experts based in the United States, Canada and India. The IBM team provided end-to-end project management, design, development, testing and architecture skills. IBM developed the web application along with the associated data management system and supporting middleware that lies at the heart of the system, and built a service-oriented architecture infrastructure that houses it. The company’s experts worked alongside IBM, developing the needed ICD connectivity, and providing device programming hardware design and internal software development.

“This system was a mission-critical project,” says a senior global product manager at the company. “It had to be timely and of the utmost quality as it is part of a life-sustaining system. The strategy was: innovate early and iterate often. The team has consistently overachieved and delivered a steady stream of innovation for us.”

For more information
To learn more about how IBM can help you transform your business, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner.

Visit us at: ibm.com/smarterplanet/healthcare

Components

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System p: System p5 505 Express - AIX 5L Edition, System p: System p5 505Q Express - AIX 5L Edition, System x: System x3650 M3

Software:
WebSphere MQ, Rational Functional Tester, WebSphere Message Broker for Multiplatforms, Rational Performance Tester, WebSphere Application Server, Rational ClearQuest, Rational Application Developer, WebSphere Message Broker, Rational DOORS

Service:
AMS: IBM Testing Services, AIS: Application Development, AIS: IBM Testing Services

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Corporation 1 New Orchard Road Armonk, NY 10504 U.S.A. Produced in the United States December 2011 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Let’s Build A Smarter Planet, Smarter Planet, the planet icons, ClearQuest, DOORS, Global Business Services, Rational, System p, System x and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. “Copyright and trademark information” at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This case study illustrates how one IBM customer uses IBM products. There is no guarantee of comparable results. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates 1Raatikainen M.J., Uusimaa P., van Ginneken M.M., Janssen J.P., Linnaluoto M. Remote monitoring of implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients: a safe, time-saving, and cost-effective means for follow-up. Europace, 2008

Document options

Showcase your unique capabilities