With the launch on Tuesday of its MyCareLink Heart mobile app, Medtronic has officially created the world’s first smartphone-connected pacemaker.
The app pairs with Medtronic BlueSync pacemakers, and then sends data from the device to the Medtronic CareLink network, eliminating the need for a bedside monitor or other separate hardware.
"For the first time, pacemakers have the ability to communicate securely and directly with technology that patients use every day like smartphones and tablets," said Aisha Barry, vice president and general manager for the connectivity and insights business arm of Medtronic’s Cardiac and Vascular Group.
"This brings the benefits of remote monitoring seamlessly into patients' lives, potentially leading to enhanced and more efficient patient engagement with their physicians," Barry added.
The pacemaker models compatible with the new app include Azure, Percepta, Serena, and Solara quadripolar cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemakers (CRT-Ps).
The app is flush with features, such as: tracking of vitals (weight, blood pressure and heart rate); pacemaker battery status reporting; the ability for a patient to catalog symptoms as needed; a display noting the implant date, model number and other details on the patient’s pacemaker and clinic; information on living with a pacemaker; and physical activity tracking.
Medtronic also incorporated encryption and access restrictions into the app to protect patient data. Medtronic plans to offer periodic upgrades to the app, as well.
"The introduction of convenient and secure data transmissions and easy access to information like pacemaker battery life changes how patients track and understand their heart health,” said James Allred, electrophysiologist at Cone Health Medical Group Heartcare in Greensboro, N.C. "The MyCareLink Heart mobile app is a technological game-changer for people with pacemakers.”
Medtronic, which is domiciled in Dublin but keeps its U.S. headquarters in Fridley, also enrolled its first patient in a trial for its Embrace targeted drug delivery clinical study. The study is intended to evaluate the use of SynchroMed, a new Medtronic-designed intrathecal drug delivery system. The system is an alternative to giving oral opioids to patients with chronic back pain. It supposedly provides the same relief at a fraction of the dosage, and with fewer side effects.
“As part of our commitment to helping address the opioid crisis, Medtronic is investing in clinical research and tools that can increase understanding of how to use proven alternative treatments, like TDD, for patients with uncontrolled chronic pain," said Charlie Covert, vice president and general manager of targeted drug delivery under Medtronic’s Pain Therapies business. "We hope the Embrace TDD study will provide valuable insights about how to best optimize use of the Medtronic pain pump and enable clinicians to help more patients with chronic pain, which has a significant personal and societal impact."
Medtronic currently employs 86,000 people worldwide who serve patients and medical staff in more than 150 countries.