Medical Devices

iPad, iPhone app to teach St. Jude docs about intravascular OCT

TeachIVUS (intravascular ultrasound), developed by MultiWeb Communications in 2004.

A small online healthcare education company in Ohio is building a “highly interactive simulation” to teach doctors and radiologists at St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) about optical coherence tomography (OCT).

MultiWeb Communications in Rocky River just landed the job from the medical device giant in Little Canada, Minnesota, according to MultiWeb founder Karl Wilkens.

St. Jude spokeswoman Kate Stoltenberg confirmed the MultiWeb project but said she could provide few details because the project is so new.


MultiWeb’s application for iPads, iPhones and the Web will teach St. Jude doctors and radiologists how to use the intravascular OCT technology of LightLab Imaging Inc., the Westford, Massachusetts, company recently acquired by St. Jude.

LightLab’s C7-XR Imaging System and accompanying C7 Dragonfly Imaging Catheter (pdf) use light to produce images of blood vessels that have much higher resolution that those produced by competing intravascular ultrasound technologies. The LightLab system is beginning to be used for interventional cardiovascular procedures such as angioplasty and stent placement.

In May, morning news show Good Morning America visited Dr. Marco Costa at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland to watch the interventional cardiologist and director of the center’s cardiovascular research institute demonstrate the LightLab system, which is the first vascular-imaging technology based on OCT.

Costa has agreed to supply cases and give clinical education input for the MultiWeb OCT application, Wilkens said.

Founded in 1998, MultiWeb rose to online education fame in 2004 after its TeachIVUS program won an Adobe MAX Award in the e-learning experiences category. “We created an imaging simulator” to teach doctors how to use intravascular ultrasound imaging technologies, Wilkens said.

The ultrasound simulator was based on the work of Dr. John McBarron Hodgson, cardiology chairman at Geisinger Healthcare in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. At the time, Hodgson was director of the invasive cardiology section (pdf) at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

“OCT is the next logical thing,” Wilkens said. “We are going to do exactly what we did for TeachIVUS, which is to build a library of cases and allow the user to analyze and identify disease — even do measurements, just like they do on the real equipment.”

He and his staff of four — and maybe a handful of subcontractors — have less than eight weeks to produce and test the online teaching tool.

“The goal is to get this in the hands of physicians who can learn about OCT and then practice, using our simulation techniques,” Wilkens said.

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