Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Biotronik Home Monitoring Operational in Europe

I've mentioned Biotronik's Home Monitoring system in an earlier post.  One of the attractive things about the Biotronik version is that their home monitoring has been deemed a replacement for clinic visits.  Quote from the article (link immediately below)

"Designed to avoid regular visits to the clinic by patients wearing company's ICD's, CRT's, and similar devices, the system sends readings from the chest straight to your doc over the cellular phone network."

This is an interesting development because Biotronik has been taking market share from the big three medical device makers.  I think that the Biotronik capability reduce clinic visits translates into either more revenue or more free time.  Either one would be attractive for device managing physicians who may suggest to implanting physicians to choose Biotronik.  This may be a situation where a robust home monitoring system drives the choice of the brand of device to implant.  I do not have clear evidence, but I think the issue is worth investigating.

Three aspects of the Biotronik home monitoring system seem to differentiate it from others.  First, the monitoring unit is mobile and uses the GSM to communicate with the monitoring servers.  The monitoring servers in turn can notify the device managing physician or clinic with an email, SMS (text) message or fax.  Second, Biotronik home monitoring unit has what they call an intelligent traffic light system.  I haven't any information on how the intelligent traffic light system operates.  Finally, and I think most importantly, the Biotronik system has the capability of earlier detection than other systems of critical, arrhythmic events.  They claim that this is a "proven capability."  Since I have no information on the operational details or algorithms that they use, I cannot confirm or deny their claims.  

The German Government has shown its belief in the bright future of Biotronik and its Home Monitoring technology: Nominated for the German Federal President`s "Deutscher Zukunftspreis" (German Future Award): BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring for Online Monitoring of Heart Patients.

Update: 21 October 2009.  A little more information about the research the Biotronik performed with respect to the value and capabilities of their Home Monitoring system.

Biotronik Press Release Published in Reuters Regarding Home Monitoring.  This press release mentions three publications of the results of the Biotronik study.  I have not yet been able to obtain a copy.  From the outside, it's hard to assess of the significance of the technology or technologies that Biotronik has incorporated into their system. However, from the outside, it appears that with the possible exception of the mobile monitoring unit, it looks more like a publicity campaign than substance because there is nothing that I can see that clearly sets Biotronik's remote monitoring system from anyone else with respect to data collection and/or analysis.

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