~e; networked heartbeat

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Fri, 4 Jan 2002 10:01:06 -0600

  [a local company, Medtronic, founded by Earl Bakken who created
  the first heart pacemaker, and also founded a reseach-museum for
  'electricity in life', with emphasis on health and medicine, has what
  could be considered a whole new dimension in networking human data:
  this story ran in the local paper, business section, and had a diagram
  i could not find on the website (went to wrong section) medtronic.com,
  yet it seems that someone with a heart-device can hook-it-up to an
  internet connection, say over 56k dialup, and send diagnostic info to
  the relevant doctors for remote monitoring, which can then be data-
  based. the image in my mind is that a phone-cord is plugged into the
  body (almost literally) and the internalized EM device sends its data
  over the network. what an interface. exciting yet scary. this seems
  to be something other than telesurgery, maybe telemedicine... wow.]

Medtronic gets FDA approval for Web monitoring of heart devices
Terry Fiedler
Star Tribune

Patients with some implanted heart devices can now get a checkup 
without leaving their homes.

Fridley-based Medtronic Inc. said Wednesday it has received Food and 
Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market a new Internet-based 
network. The network allows data to be sent from patients' implanted 
defibrillators to doctors' offices.

&quot;There is nothing out there with this type of Web 
connectivity,&quot; said U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray analyst Thomas 

&quot;Medtronic has been focused as a product company,&quot; said 
Christopher O'Connell, vice president and general manager of 
Medtronic's patient-management division. &quot;Now we are going into 
a whole new era of post-implant services.&quot;

Although two million people have implanted Medtronic heart devices, 
the FDA approval will affect only about 23,000 of them immediately. 
Those patients have Medtronic's GEM II DR/VR defibrillator, which can 
now be monitored by the company's fee-based patient management 
network, called CareLink.

Analysts said the FDA is likely to approve other defibrillator models 
and some other heart devices for Web monitoring in the next year. The 
CareLink network can support other heart devices -- pacemakers, 
heart-failure devices and diagnostic devices -- as the FDA approves 
the network's use with them. The devices don't need any special 
adjustments in order for heart-related data to be transmitted through 
the Internet.

Gunderson expects the network to help Medtronic defend and expand its 
leading market-share in cardiac-rhythm management devices. In fiscal 
2001, Medtronic had $2.3 billion in cardiac-rhythm management sales 
-- 42 percent of total company revenue..

UBS Warburg analyst David Lothson has estimated that by 2006 the 
Medtronic remote-monitoring network will be used by 150,000 patients 
and generate $250 million a year in revenue.

But more important than the fees, in his view, are the market-share 

Lothson wrote in a recent report that Medtronic has &quot;a major 
jump&quot; in the remote monitoring area over its chief competitors: 
Guidant Corp., which has its cardiac-rhythm management group in Arden 
Hills, and Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical Inc.

Medtronic made the convergence of medical and information technology 
a central element of its 10-year plan outlined last year. In the past 
two years, the company has invested about $30 million in the CareLink 
network, which will be marketed to cardiology clinics and academic 
medical centers. Those clinics will pay an as-yet-undetermined annual 
fee to Medtronic for each patient. The patients, in turn, will be 
asked to pay a fee to the clinics.

Dr. George Crossley III, director of electrophysiology at Baptist 
Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., who worked on benchmark testing of the 
network, said it &quot;allows us to extend patient care beyond clinic 
walls. We get the data we need for follow-up when and where we need 

-- Terry Fiedler is at  tfiedler@startribune.com .

(fair-use.edu, ~e.org)

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