Medtronic Seamlessly Integrates Nerve Monitoring System Data with Backend EHR

Medtronic is the largest maker of surgical equipment in the world. One of its offerings is a nerve integrity monitoring (NIM) system to help surgeons avoid accidents that can impede or even end nerve function for patients during surgery. 

With its existing product, operating room staff copied reports from the NIM to the EHR using a USB memory stick or by printing and then scanning reports, but neither approach was elegant or efficient. Medtronic wanted to explore a more seamless integration between its NIM system and backend electronic health records (EHR).  

That’s where Emids came into the picture.  

Emids set up an on-site alignment workshop where it explored a range of options for integrating the NIM into back-end EHR systems. These included cloud-based solutions, Interface Engines, FHIR and HL7—two data-interchange standards commonly used in healthcare. Emids created a proof-of-concept dashboard for device-specific information. This cloud-based functionality took only a week to develop and showcases some of the potential benefits of cloud-based service and support for Medtronic. 

“Cloud integration gives us business intelligence we’ve never had before, and that opens the door to all sorts of possibilities, from better product planning to novel revenue models.”

Paul Cox

Former head of software development & architecture, Medtronic

Following the workshop, Medtronic settled on a combination of FHIR integrated into the NIM units for patient record lookup to prevent patient mismatches—important because patient mismatches increase the complexity on data submission—and HL7 to do the actual data updates. Within a few months of starting the project, Emids had designed and built a working prototype for the next generation NIM. 

The new device allows reports to be uploaded to a hospital’s EHR system over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with a couple of button presses. And it is future proof too, since FHIR is quickly becoming one of the most popular standards for health data exchange.

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