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ResMed, Medtronic embrace remote tech amid COVID-19, say it's here to stay.

The need to create safe physical distances between healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients is prompting medtechs to modify how their devices are used. Spurred by regulatory flexibility from FDA, companies like GE Healthcare, Medtronic, and ResMed have developed and rapidly deployed remote programming and monitoring capabilities for their devices to help frontline providers reduce exposure to the deadly virus. Executives say many of the features are likely to become permanent.

GE Healthcare, partnering with Microsoft, last month introduced new remote monitoring software to provide hospitals with an enterprise-wideview of ventilated patients and to help identify those at risk of deterioration.

Working with Intel, Medtronic last month launched a remote management capability for its Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator to allow providers to adjust the breathing machine’s settings outside of intensive care units and away from patients.

Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha said the company's work with Intel brought a product to market "in a matter of weeks," speaking to investors on Thursday during a conference call.

While remote programming and remote monitoring capabilities were important before the pandemic, Martha contends these kinds of features are now critical.

“We’re seeing hospitals talk about making that standard of care. If, and I’d say when, that happens, we are well, we are the best positioned in the marketplace for that,” Martha boasted.

Jim Hollingshead, president of ResMed's sleep business, told MedTech Dive it pivoted quickly to provide customers with remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients on ventilators.

Earlier this month, ResMed launched cloud-based remote monitoring software for ventilators and Lumis bilevel devices across Europe, giving clinicians access to respiratory information via computers or smartphones. Healthcare providers can also change some Lumis device settings remotely using the technology.


“It has allowed patients to be taken out of hospital beds” in countries such as Italy and Spain where ICUs were overwhelmed, and to be remotely monitored instead, Hollingshead said, also noting use in the U.S.

Hollingshead said COVID-19 has accelerated adoption and sees a vital role for connected devices in a post-pandemic world.

“What we want to do is to use our remote monitoring and cloud-based technologies to virtualize care across all chronic diseases,” Hollingshead said. “If you can monitor a patient remotely, you can make the patient experience so much better.”

Last week, ResMed announced the availability of MaskSelector, a digital tool for remote CPAP mask fittings that creates personalized recommendations based on a patient’s sleep attributes and facial measurements.

Author: Greg Slabodkin

Published: May 26, 2020

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