InTouch Health Complies with FDA Final Rule – Active Patient Monitoring Requires More than an MDDS

Santa Barbara, CA, May 12, 2011 – In response to the recent announcement issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding Medical Device Data Systems (MDDS), InTouch Health® affirms its position of compliance, and applauds the agency for issuing regulations governing the use of hardware and software in the healthcare information technology space. The MDDS Final Rule provides clarification on the critical difference between the handling of medical device data intended simply for documentation versus that of active patient monitoring. The FDA indicated in its February 14, 2011 press release that MDDS classified devices are intended only to transfer, store, convert from one format to another according to preset specifications, or to display medical device data. The Final Rule further stipulates that as a FDA class I device, an MDDS is not intended to be used in connection with active patient monitoring (i.e. real time, active or online patient monitoring). Any device that transmits, stores, converts, or displays medical device data that is intended to be relied upon in deciding to take immediate clinical action by a health care professional is not an MDDS. Active patient monitoring devices are primarily FDA class II medical devices requiring more stringent manufacturer controls. The MDDS Final Rule is published in the Code of Federal Regulations 21 Part 880, Docket No. FDA-2008-N-0106. 

“We have seen firsthand the evolution of two-way audio and video communications systems used by health care professionals, which have transitioned from distance learning and hospital administrative applications to more comprehensive patient diagnosis. As health care providers now adapt these systems for real time physician consults in acute telemedicine applications such as stroke, ICU, cardiology, trauma, and pediatric patient care, the industry must accept higher levels of responsibility to insure the safety and effectiveness of these devices,” said Dr. Yulun Wang, Chairman and CEO for InTouch Health. “From the time of the FDA’s Proposed Rule, InTouch Health recognized its responsibility as a medical device manufacturer and thus sought and received FDA class II 510(k) clearance in 2008.” 

“The Final Rule is a signal to industry that the FDA is transitioning from ‘regulatory discretion’ where the FDA takes a wait-and-see approach to nascent markets, to pursuing ‘enforcement discretion’ to actively regulate new market segments,” said Stephen R. Sidwell, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance for InTouch Health. “We have already committed the significant time and energy to design, validate and test all of our products to the highest standards using a total quality system of procedures and processes in strict adherence to those guidelines provided by the FDA.” 

The Final Rule also states if a third-party company or hospital develops its own software protocols or interfaces that have an intended use consistent with an MDDS, or develops, modifies, or creates a system from multiple components of devices and uses it clinically for functions covered by the MDDS classification, then that entity would also be considered a device manufacturer and be subject to FDA regulatory law. 

InTouch Health provides complete telemedicine solutions that allow physicians to remotely perform real time consults with hospital patients. All of InTouch Health’s Remote Presence telemedicine devices, the RP-7® seriesRP-Lite®RP-Vantage™, and now RP-Xpress™, are purpose-built FDA-cleared class II devices. 

About InTouch Health
InTouch Health provides comprehensive telemedicine solutions and expertise that enable physicians to perform remote active patient monitoring and consultation. Through a single portal, physicians can access a host of purpose-built, FDA-cleared telemedicine devices to provide care anywhere across the continuum: homes, clinics, ambulances, procedure rooms, EDs, ICUs, and patient wards. The InTouch Health Remote Presence telemedicine network is powered through its SureConnect® cloud-based infrastructure providing unparalleled connection quality and reliability, interoperability, workflow imaging and documentation, and services and support. Wherever access to medical expertise is limited, InTouch Health’s Remote Presence telemedicine solutions can effectively extend the physician’s reach to manage patient care, thereby removing critical time and distance barriers. 

The Company has more than 400 hospital locations on six continents enrolled in its Remote Presence network for the delivery of telemedicine services such as stroke, critical care, cardiology, trauma, pediatrics, neonatology, behavioral health, language translation, and clinical education and surgical/procedure mentoring.