The Merlin Patient Care System received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April, following a development effort where St. Jude Medical consulted with the engineers of IBM's recently formed Technology Collaboration Solutions unit. IBM worked with St. Jude Medical on many phases of the project, from the early design and engineering of the housing and printed circuit board (PCB) through volume production.
"We worked closely with our clinician customers and the team at IBM to create a more comprehensive, streamlined patient implant and follow-up system", stated Michael J. Coyle, president of St. Jude Medical's Cardiac Rhythm Management Division. "The result of this extensive collaboration is the Merlin Patient Care System, which enables physicians to provide the same high standard of care for patients in significantly less time."
The Merlin Patient Care System supports current and previous generation devices. It is a portable computer with an LCD touch screen that enables clinicians to retrieve and analyse patient information during routine follow-up visits and quickly and easily make programming changes to the implanted devices.
IBM helped St. Jude Medical integrate the large viewing screen with touch-point capabilities, an embedded keypad platform and a Linux-based operating system. The hardware platform supports Merlin's graphical user interface, which supports improved work flow and dramatically enhances the user experience. St. Jude Medical partnered with its customers to build an intuitive and flexible system designed to meet clinician and patient care needs.
As part of a seven-year collaborative agreement between the two companies, IBM will act as the business liaison with the third party contract manufacturer who will manufacture the Merlin Patient Care System for St. Jude Medical. St. Jude Medical will distribute the Merlin Patient Care System to clinics, hospitals and medical facilities worldwide starting this month.
"Increasingly, companies must collaborate with key technology and channel partners to achieve the new level of innovation required for success", stated Joseph Nemeth, vice president of Medical Solutions, IBM Technology Collaboration Solutions. "Through our engagement with St. Jude Medical, we provided a full range of resources, industry experience, engineering and design consulting, which enabled St. Jude Medical to focus on its core competencies and deliver an innovative solution to the market."
St. Jude Medical is dedicated to making life better for cardiac, neurological and chronic pain patients worldwide through excellence in medical device technology and services. The company has five major focus areas that include cardiac rhythm management, atrial fibrillation, cardiac surgery, cardiology and neuromodulation. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Jude Medical employs approximately 10.000 people worldwide.
IBM Technology Collaboration Solutions combines Micro-electronics, Technology Development and Manufacturing, OEM Component Sales, OEM Systems Sales, Systems & Technology Group Intellectual Property, Next Generation Telecommunications, and Engineering & Technology Services, integrating organisations that are major drivers of growth for IBM.
The recently formed IBM unit creates an opportunity for clients to engage more deeply with IBM above and beyond the data centre, aligning with clients, partners and channels in the development, distribution and manufacturing of new products, enabling clients to collaborate with IBM to rethink and reinvent their R&D operations and the products they bring to market. More IBM news is available in this VMW issue's article The University of North Carolina Health Care System teams with IBM to implement advanced electronic medical system for one million patients.