GE Healthcare recently received FDA clearance for the Engström Carestation ventilator. There are lots of new advanced parameters, and quicker and easier ways to measure existing parameters on the new ventilator. A few things were missing from the press release. There was no mention of the clinical significance of the new capabilities, nor was there any mention of improved outcomes as a result.

I know I'm picking on GE - they're probably working on all sorts of follow on data regarding outcomes and clinical significance. What really caught my attention was the lack of connectivity.

More and more ventilator patients are placed on units outside of critical care units. Caregivers in these areas have more patients who are frequently in private rooms and sometimes behind closed doors. Many of these caregivers are not as familiar with managing ventilated patients as critical care nurses, and the respiratory therapy techs who support them can be spread across the entire hospital. The market requirement is clear; respiratory techs need wireless access to the vents they're responsible for, and both techs and caregivers need better alarm notification.

This requirements gap has created opportunities for companies like Cardiopulmonary and their Bernoulli system for managing distributed ventilators. This long standing product feature gap also means something else.

At some point, a ventilator company will bring to market network connectivity (not the serial port that today's vents have) and a central station product - maybe event alarm notification. And when that happens, the first to market will have a "lock-out" spec that they will use to mercilessly beat their competitors. Then the mad dash will be on as competitors scramble to bring their connectivity solutions to market.

If you want to have the best and most profitable connectivity (and maybe the first), give me a call.

Pictured right is GE's connectivity-free Enstrom Carestation ventilator.