St. Jude adds wireless upload to Merlin@home

By Brian Dolan

merlin_at_homeSt. Jude Medical launched a wireless USB adaptor for its Merlin@home transmitter for patients with implantable cardiac devices. The new adaptor allows important patient data from the patient's implantable cardiac device to be wirelessly downloaded and securely transmitted via cellular networks to a physician for review. Previously Merlin@home required a landline telephone line.

“For patients who either prefer to use cellular technology or do not have access to a standard phone line, this product provides an alternative solution for secure data transmission,” Dr. David Sandler, director of electrophysiology at the Oklahoma Heart Institute in Tulsa, OK stated in a St. Jude press release. “The Wireless USB Adaptor offers a reliable, portable remote monitoring option for patients who frequently travel.”

According to report from the CDC published this past Janurary, preliminary results from the January-June 2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicated that the number of American homes that only use mobile phones (no landlines) continues to increase. Some 22.7 percent of U.S. homes only used mobile phones during the first six months of 2009. That marks an increase of 2.5 percent over the same period in 2008. St. Jude's new offering makes the connected implantable device easier for those patients living in landline-less homes to use.

The new wireless USB adaptor is a small device that plugs into new and existing Merlin@home transmitters, according to the company. The transmitter typically sits on a patient’s bedside table and wirelessly communicates with the patient’s device while they are asleep. The data are sent via the Merlin@home transmitter to the Patient Care Network (PCN), an Internet-based repository of patient and device data. Once transmitted, the PCN organizes the data for fast analysis and easy review, and allows information to be sent directly to a clinic’s or hospital’s electronic health record (EHR) system for inclusion in the patient’s comprehensive EHR.

According to the company, the remote monitoring capabilities facilitated by the Merlin@home transmitter permit automated follow-up appointments and daily device checks to occur wirelessly, with limited patient action required. This reduces unnecessary visits to the physician’s office, while allowing physicians to more quickly become aware of changes with the patient’s condition or device.

For more on St. Jude's new adaptor read the full press release here.