Medtronic unveils beefed up wireless remote monitoring for cardiac implants

With PMA supplement in hand, Medtronic ($MDT) is launching a new wireless remote monitoring system designed to speed up hospital treatment decisions for patients with the company's implanted cardiac devices.

Medtronic's implantable cardioverter defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, insertable cardiac monitors and pacemakers are all compatible with the new system, the company said.

Dubbed CareLink Express, the system is targeted to doctors and other clinicians at healthcare facilities who must quickly obtain patient data regarding their implants. Medtronic bills its product as "an industry first," because it also allows a device expert with the company's ongoing CareLink remote monitoring network to review device data using a mobile phone or tablet, and convey an evaluation to the hospital in minimal time. A patient would use the monitor at the healthcare facility for a routine device check or as a precautionary look following an accident or other unrelated trauma. Previously, cardiac patients have often had to wait several hours for a device representative to evaluate the machine, Medtronic says.

Additionally, the gathered data can be exported to a hospitals' electronic health records system.

In the post-healthcare reform environment, medical device companies are seeing demand shift to products that can help reduce costs, increase efficiency and either maintain or improve quality at the same time. Medtronic is marketing CareLink Express along those lines, following a 55-site pilot program over the previous 6 months. The company notes, for example, that the system helped reduce average wait times from 84 minutes to under 15 minutes.

Of course, wireless monitoring has also raised some concerns, mainly that a device could be hacked, leaving the security of the device and the data it generates in question. Medtronic and other companies whose devices could be vulnerable are gradually becoming part of the debate going on in industry, government and academia to identify ways to reduce those risks.

- read the release

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