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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Feb 2022 - 18 Feb 2022

Human Studies

2022 Feb 10

Sci Rep



Rapid development of an integrated remote programming platform for neuromodulation systems through the biodesign process.


Silburn P, DeBates S, Tomlinson T, Schwark J, Creek G, Patel H, Punnoose A, Cheeran B, Ross E, Lautner D, Pathak YJ
Sci Rep. 2022 Feb 10; 12(1):2269.
PMID: 35145143.


Treating chronic symptoms for pain and movement disorders with neuromodulation therapies involves fine-tuning of programming parameters over several visits to achieve and maintain symptom relief. This, together with challenges in access to trained specialists, has led to a growing need for an integrated wireless remote care platform for neuromodulation devices. In March of 2021, we launched the first neuromodulation device with an integrated remote programming platform. Here, we summarize the biodesign steps taken to identify the unmet patient need, invent, implement, and test the new technology, and finally gain market approval for the remote care platform. Specifically, we illustrate how agile development aligned with the evolving regulatory requirements can enable patient-centric digital health technology in neuromodulation, such as the remote care platform. The three steps of the biodesign process applied for remote care platform development are: (1) Identify, (2) Invent, and (3) Implement. First, we identified the unmet patient needs through market research and voice-of-customer (VOC) process. Next, during the concept generation phase of the invention step, we integrated the results from the VOC into defining requirements for prototype development. Subsequently, in the concept screening phase, ten subjects with PD participated in a clinical pilot study aimed at characterizing the safety of the remote care prototype. Lastly, during the implementation step, lessons learned from the pilot experience were integrated into final product development as new features. Following final product development, we completed usability testing to validate the full remote care system and collected preliminary data from the limited market release experience. The VOC data, during prototype development, helped us identify thresholds for video quality and needs priorities for clinicians and patients. During the pilot study, one subject reported anticipated remote-care-related adverse events that were resolved without sequelae. For usability analysis following final product development, the failure rates for task completion for both user groups were about 1%. Lastly, during the initial 4 weeks of the limited market release experience, a total of 858 remote care sessions were conducted with a 93% success rate. Overall, we developed a remote care platform by adopting a user-centric approach. Although the system intended to address pre-COVID19 challenges associated with disease management, the unforeseen overlap of the study with the pandemic elevated the importance of such a system and an innovative development process enabled us to advance a patient-centric platform to gain regulatory approval and successfully launch the remote care platform to market.