HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE: InVivoLink Offers Unprecedented Data Collection on Orthopaedics Implant Procedures
InVivoLink's applications are easily adaptable to mobile devices such as the iPad.
A Nashville-based company launched this spring is already building a roster of clients interested in the improved workflow of orthopaedic implantation procedures such as hip and knee replacements. Called InVivoLink (IVL), the company offers three Web-based applications targeting physicians, hospitals and manufacturers – and then helps them communicate with each other.
"Within each portal, there is a unique workflow that helps each party manage their specific tasks involved with doing an implant procedure," explained Ryan Wells, founder and CEO of IVL. Yet, he added that the company's "theme" is "more about creating a collaborative methodology."
Before founding IVL, Wells spent 13 years at DePuy Orthopaedics, where he observed the inefficiencies caused by too little communication among doctors, hospitals, and manufacturers and their sales force. Thus, he set about creating the applications needed to gather much more information than ever before about implant procedures before, during and after.
"If you look at a total knee replacement as an event, these three parties can come together utilizing a technology to make it much more efficient to plan and prepare for it," Wells said.
"Then while you're in the procedure, our technology captures the procedure's specific information. An interoperative kiosk sits in the OR during surgery to capture the barcode of the implant, taking out the chance for human error. Put all that together and you get a much clearer picture post-operatively to track the long-term outcome down the road. It's a much more robust dataset."
About a year ago, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons created an independent organization called the American Joint Replacement Registry, dedicated to collecting and reporting on hip and knee joint replacement procedures. The goal of the registry is to monitor device performance, thereby allowing early recognition of underperforming processes or devices and supporting continued clinical learning. As the registry works to establish the infrastructure and processes necessary to capture such data, IVL already has a solution, since the result of using IVL applications is "a repository of data," Wells said.
The IVL products were "built out of sheer necessity," he said, after first examining other countries' registry models and then creating a model that would be more relevant to the U.S. healthcare system. "We feel like this is the next generation registry that requires little effort because the technology bears the load of data capture," he added. "The idea is to reduce workload and at the same time capture a very powerful dataset that helps clinical outcomes." Should an implant be recalled, for example, the database would make it easier to track down patients with the device. "An implant recall today would typically trigger a lot of manual tracking to find those implants," Wells noted.
Already, more than 100 customers are using the scheduling application, which triggers notifications to the hospital and the device manufacturer when a physician schedules surgery. The result is additional lead time to ensure timely delivery of the device by the manufacturer.
In the long run, manufacturers will be able to forecast device demand based on information such as geographic location, patient type, physician preference and other criteria. "It's a turnkey method to manage their inventory and provide an entirely new level of customer service," Wells said. Using IVL, doctors will be able to build an implant preference model based on patients' clinical assessments and to compare their performance and productivity with peer practices. The hospital component helps facilities to control costs, improve quality and safety, and bridge supply chain, operations, financial and clinical systems to improve their orthopaedic product line.
In June, IVL released a new mobile application for use on the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and other devices. Called "Remote Control," the app is designed for medical device sales representatives.
"We're focusing on orthopaedics today, but we want to spread out into spine, trauma and allograft tissue, as well as cardiac," Wells said.
The IVL technology is easily integrated into most hospitals' existing healthcare information systems, Wells said. He also noted that he believes a tablet-style device, such as Apple's iPad, will play an important role in the use of IVL applications. "I expect that the Android operating system by Google will have a significant impact in healthcare, but a tablet with touchscreen is a very relevant solution for providers," he said.
John Bass, IVL's chief operating officer, added, "We really plan to listen to the market around technology. We're very aware, and we understand that technology provides a lot of the energy that will allow our systems to be adopted and really help change the way healthcare works today."
Located in Burton Hills, IVL now has 15 employees and is continuing to hire sales representatives.