Last month (November) Boston Scientific announced FDA approval of LATITUDE 2.0 Patient Management software with “remote data integration capabilities.”

LATITUDE Patient Management is the first and only remote monitoring
system to provide clinicians with direct device data integration
capability into GE's Centricity Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The
enhanced version of the LATITUDE website also provides increased
efficiencies to clinicians through streamlined system navigation,
increased alert flexibility, faster printing and fine-tuned automatic

Everything that generates patient data needs to integrate with an EMR, and ICDs are no exception. The fact that Boston Scientific is the first is not that big a deal; I expect their competitors to quickly follow suit. The interesting questions here revolve around how they've implemented their connectivity, especially their business processes around connectivity and the resulting costs.

Since a lot of pacemaker programmers, software and services are given away to hospitals and physicians – the classic “give away the razor to sell the blades” – the costs to develop and maintain EMR integration is a cost that comes right off the bottom line. Because EMR integration is one of those things that either works or it doesn't, there is no competitive advantage in usability or some other qualitative performance characteristic. Given how fragmented the EMR market is, and there are hundreds of EMR vendors, the ICD vendor with the most efficient and low cost connectivity strategy will be the winner here.

Pictured right is the Zoom Latitude wireless programmer.