Perle Systems Case Study
The Customer: Clevermed is a medical software development company. Its founder, Peter Badger, has 18 years experience in this field, 10 of which have focused on neonatal monitoring in intensive care units. His years of research at Edinburgh's Simpson Memorial Hospital led to the development of the Badger System.
The Challenge - The Badger System is a groundbreaking neo-natal monitoring system that connects to individual devices surrounding a baby, recording physiological and environmental information. It relays information to a central system, which converts the data into recognisable graphs, charts and figures. Using the system, nurses get a real-time report for each neonatal in their care, instead of spending time manually charting them.
In 1999, Peter Badger was close to launching his product but was missing an essential element. He needed Serial Cards to interface the Badgers central system with hospital monitoring devices.
Peter Badger explains, “If you imagine the number of monitors that are necessary to chart a newborn baby, then you can imagine the problem facing the successful integration of the Badger System.”
As Clevermed runs on charity donations, he was looking for a competitively priced product.
Perle's 4-port AT-FAST and PCI-FAST Serial Cards.
Peter Badger explains, “We were running the system over Windows NT4 at the time and the AT-FAST 4 cards from Perle were the most competitively priced of the ones we looked at. Once we had the cards, it was straightforward to install them over the NT4 system.”
In 2000, Peter decided to move the Badger System to the Windows 2000 platform. However, Peter discovered that he would need to switch to the Perle PCI-FAST Card, which offered the Windows 2000 driver.
Since there was no immediate plan to upgrade the AT-FAST 4 with Windows 2000 drivers Peter called Perle and explained his predicament. Perle, recognising the charitable nature of Peter's work, decided to make its own donation to the Badger project. Perle replaced the AT-FAST cards with 4-port PCI-FAST cards free of charge and delivered the Windows 2000 drivers that Clevermed needed to resume the roll-out of its lifesaving Badger System.
“Our system is invaluable in neo-natal care and Perle's generosity has helped to keep the system up and running.” explains Peter, “I was particularly impressed that the company donated the new cards, as it would have meant a long wait whilst we gathered more funds to afford the upgrade ourselves. With Perle's help, we were able to roll out the new software as planned, in August 2000.”
Currently, the development site is based in Edinburgh but there are plans to expand the use of the Badger System to London's Kings College and a hospital in Southern Germany. “There is scope to develop the technology for in-utero fetal CTG monitoring during pregnancy and orthopedic monitoring during surgery. It has already been used in sleep studies on infants, in order to look for patterns indicating a potential risk of cot death,” adds Peter.
The potential for systems such as the Badger is unlimited. Running the system through a web browser opens up huge opportunities, such as video-conferencing, video-streaming, 3d multimedia imaging etc.
Peter concludes, “Perle has provided us with the essential components for the first system of this kind to be implemented in neo-natal units.”
The Benefits: Most of us are fortunate enough not to face the reality of having a newborn baby in intensive care. For those parents who do, the life-saving equipment that is essential to the welfare of their child offers immeasurable benefits.