Medtronic launches brain-stim programmer on a Samsung phone

Medtronic has launched a new system that allows patients to manage their deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatments at home using a dedicated and customized Samsung smartphone. 

The Activa programming device was approved by the FDA in July, though Medtronic says more than 150,000 patients to date have received the company’s DBS implants to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms and other conditions. The devicemaker hopes that users’ familiarity with the consumer device will help encourage better treatment control and patient engagement.

“Medtronic’s DBS therapy managed via Samsung devices offers users a blend of safety and control of their data, while also offering elegance and simplicity of use,” Taher Behbehani, head of Samsung Electronics America's mobile business-to-business division, said in a statement.

RELATED: Medtronic launches 'brain pacemaker' implant for reducing epileptic seizures

Medtronic and Samsung's 
DBS programmer system

The system includes both the network-connected smartphone handset—which allows data to be uploaded and shared with clinical staff—plus hardware to communicate with the DBS implant wirelessly, through the skin. Clinicians can also remotely adjust the patient’s therapy between office visits.

“The new Patient Programmer builds out an end-to-end solution between patient and healthcare provider with the DBS Clinician Programmer and Activa Programming Application,” said Mike Daly, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s brain modulation business. “With this device, patients gain confidence, as they are able to discreetly manage their DBS therapy no matter where they are.”

RELATED: Medtronic, Samsung partner to develop neuromodulation implant apps for smart devices

The clinician interface is hosted on a larger tablet interface, provided by the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, the companies said. Medtronic has been working with Samsung since 2013 to incorporate mobile devices into multiple therapeutic offerings spanning neuromodulation and diabetes. The U.S. commercial launch was announced at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Jose, California.