Samsung and Medtronic Team Up to Help Patients Manage Parkinson's Disease

The Patient Programmer helps patients manage their Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy more easily and discreetly.

31.10.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Samsung Business Insights
Photo by Samsung Business Insights

Medtronic has launched its Patient Programmer in collaboration with Samsung to help Parkinson’s disease patients manage their Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy. 

Medtronic DBS therapy devices are used to manage Parkinson’s disease and other conditions. The system works by implanting a neurostimulator device in the patient’s chest; wires from the neurostimulator extend to the brain to deliver electrical signals to stimulate the brain and help reduce tremors.  Over 150,000 patients have been implanted with Medtronic DBS devices to manage Parkinson’s disease and other conditions.

“Medtronic has been the leader in DBS therapy for over 25 years,” Mike Daly, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s Brain Modulation business, said in a statement. “This launch continues to serve as further evidence of our dedication to our DBS patients allowing them to experience an altogether smarter therapeutic journey.”

In 2018, Medtronic released the Clinician Programmer—on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2—to support neurologists and neurosurgeons in their treatment of patients. The tablet has a pre-loaded Activa Programming Application that allowed clinicians to review patient programming history and usage, visualise neuronal activation and streamlined workflows. Since the programme worked so well, the two companies collaborated again to release an easy-to-use device for patients.

“It is important for patients to have access to advanced technology for user-friendly therapy management at home,” said Sandeep Thakkar, neurologist and movement disorder specialist at Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. “The new Medtronic DBS Activa Patient Programmer device is an innovative tool that combines familiar consumer technology with medical devices, which facilitates better control for patients in an easier, more accessible way.”

The FDA-approved Patient Programmer uses a customised Samsung smartphone and consists of a handset and a communicator. When patients want to adjust the prescribed therapy settings, turn therapy on or off, or check the neurostimulator’s battery, they can put the communicator over the implanted Medtronic device and use the programmer to make any changes. Healthcare professionals can also adjust DBS therapy settings and coordinate the treatment directly with the patients.

“It begins and ends with patients,” said Earl Slee, vice president of technology at Medtronic, as reported by Venture Beat. “We can place an electrical wire in the brain where we modulate the abnormal electrical energy and improve the patient’s movement symptoms. We are not stopping there. In the near future, we will launch DBS devices with brain sensing capability. The Clinician and Patient Programmers, are the first of several building blocks in our innovative product portfolio.”

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