health device

How data can help medical health device companies

by Dan Kotok

The medical device industry is currently valued at $389 billion, and it’s not hard to see why. The devices these industries create save lives in ways unprecedented in human history. But as health issues continue to flourish, how will the medical device industry keep up? By embracing data, medical device companies can improve patient care, make physicians’ lives easier, and collaborate and drive innovation.


Improve patient care through predictive analytics

One of the superpowers of data is predictive analytics, and medical device companies can take that superpower and use it to help patient outcomes.

Medtronic, a medical device company, recently collaborated with IBM to provide real-time glucose reports for patients with diabetes.

“The diabetes management system allows Medtronic to anticipate millions of data points; understand the potential links between glucose readings, drug administration, and lifestyle choices; and enable patients to make more informed decisions about their medication,” explained a writer at Verdict Medical Devices.

Another benefit of using data is that data is easily assembled to form a clearer big picture. Propeller Health, a digital therapeutics company, “has developed a digitally guided therapy platform for chronic respiratory disease, which integrates information from multiple sources.” Then machine learning comes into play, helping patients manage their medication and using algorithms to gather valuable insights.


Make physicians’ lives easier through real-time data

A deadly problem facing physicians is alarm fatigue, the sensory overload that comes from being “exposed to an excessive number of alarms, which can result in desensitization to alarms and missed alarms.”

Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, New Jersey, and medical device integration and analytics company Bernoulli wanted to find out if data could help fix this serious problem. Using “predictive analytics, fueled by real-time medical device data,” could they “accurately identify patients at-risk for post-op respiratory depression without inducing alarm fatigue in clinicians?”

They found out that they could.

They passed multiple series of data through a multi-variable rules engine that monitored patients’ vitals and other important health metrics. This determined which alarms to send to the nurse-call phone system, which “brought the number of respiratory depression alerts down to 209 – a 99 percent reduction.”

“Using only sustained alarms as the filter for notifications reduced alerts from 22,812 to 13,000, a number high enough to still cause alarm fatigue. However, passing multiple series of data through a multi-variable rules engine that monitored the values of pulse, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and end-tidal carbon dioxide in order to determine which alarms to send to the nurse-call phone system brought the number of respiratory depression alerts down to 209 – a 99 percent reduction, the hospital reported.”

In other words, this hospital used data from medical devices to not only help clinicians focus but also reduce risk to patients.


Collaborating and driving innovation

Medical devices, of course, don’t work in isolation. They’re a tool used by clinicians for patients to improve clinician effectiveness and patient outcomes. So the people behind the medical devices need to collaborate in order to drive innovation in this rapidly advancing field.

Medtronic, a medical technology company, is embracing collaboration as a vital tool for innovation.

“[Medtronic’s] consulting services focus on helping hundreds of catheterization labs and operating rooms use data and analytics to streamline operations and reduce patient wait times,” according to a Harvard Business Review white paper. “And by partnering with IBM Watson, we created the first and only device in diabetes care that continuously collects live data and automatically provides personalized sugar-level adjustments—preventing costly and inconvenient hospital stays.”

Medtronic understands that stakeholders—especially medical technology providers and hospital systems—need to be aligned, or else the collected data will be useless.

“The rush to digitize often leaves out that step of preparing the clinical workflow to accommodate this new flow of information,” said Kedar Mate, chief innovation and education officer for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Unfortunately our workflow systems in health care are so fragile that if you don’t pay attention to that step, it will overwhelm the existing systems, and that will quickly make the technologies irrelevant.”

It’s important that medical device companies are united with other players in the healthcare industry, so together they can leverage data in the most helpful way.


The medical device industry is growing, and so is the data it uses. Medical device companies are leveraging the vast amounts of medical data to improve patient care, make physicians’ lives easier, and collaborate and drive innovation.

In the upcoming part six of this blog series, I take a look at the specific ways Salesforce and Simplus can help you predict and analyze data


Dan-KotokDan is a Senior Account Executive here at Simplus. He has specialties in, training user and system testing cycles, end user and support training, business process mapping, LSS project management, implementations, and change management.

[email protected]

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