Making Remote Consulting Possible: The New Medtronic CareLink Programmer


Dr. Anne Gillis

On November 7, 2001, a colleague and I were the first to use the new Medtronic CareLink programmer and Remote View software (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minnesota) during an ICD implant procedure at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta. While Dr. John Rothschild implanted a GEM ® III DR ICD, we collaborated in real time from separate locations. While sitting in the follow-up office on another floor in the hospital, I used the Remote View software on a laptop computer to view the programmer screen and monitor device testing throughout the procedure.

We are excited about the potential of this new software. In Canada, many patients are geographically isolated from tertiary care facilities and do not always have immediate access to an electrophysiologist. Many patients with ICDs are followed in clinics under the supervision of an internist or general cardiologist. The remote viewing capability in the new Carelink Programmer will make follow-up easier for our patients who live far away from our facility. It will also speed troubleshooting significantly, by enabling physicians or other health professionals to consult in real time with an electrophysiologist or technical support personnel, if necessary. In fact, the afternoon after consulting on the GEM III DR implant, I flew to Minneapolis for a meeting. The next day, as the nurses prepared to discharge the patient, I participated in the follow-up session using the Remote View software on a laptop computer in Minneapolis. I was able to see that the parameters were fine and consulted with my staff by telephone.

This is a fine example of how technological advances will significantly change the way we manage our cardiac patients in the future. Global market release for these products is scheduled for early 2002.

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