/PRNewswire/ -- Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ: THOR), a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support (MCS) therapies to save, support and restore failing hearts, today announced the launch of Thoratec Connect™, the first Cloud-based advanced MCS program management system.

Thoratec Connect is designed to meet the needs of the ventricular assist device (VAD) teams who provide care to the growing population of MCS patients. HeartMate II®, the only continuous flow LVAD approved for both Bridge-to-Transplantation and Destination Therapy (DT), has been implanted in over 10,000 patients. Moreover, because of growth in the DT indication and lengthening durations of support, the number of patients on ongoing HeartMate II therapy has increased significantly, to over 4,500 individuals, and this population is expected to continue to increase. By streamlining the administrative aspects of ongoing patient management and making information and resources quickly and easily accessible, Thoratec Connect should enable VAD teams to manage their programs more efficiently and apply a greater percentage of their time to direct patient care.

The administrative needs of MCS patient management are time consuming. For example, VAD teams must carefully monitor their patients and track equipment, and they are often burdened by non-standardized paperwork not easily accessible by other team members. According to a survey of 450 VAD Coordinators throughout the U.S. and Canada, administrative tasks result in an average of 13 hours per week per coordinator. The majority of survey respondents stated they are not very satisfied with their current processes for accomplishing these administrative responsibilities.

Thoratec Connect provides a VAD team with centralized access to a range of resources as well as current information regarding their patients. The system facilitates activities that are often performed through manual, paper-based methods. The secure Web-based portal ensures the highest level of protection and secured data access for customers by utilizing industry leading technologies and procedures. Features of the system include:

  • Equipment Tracking , including implants and ancillary equipment from the time of Thoratec shipment through patient assignment and service
  • To Do Lists for patient care and equipment tracking
  • Learning Management through Thoratec eUniversity, an interactive web-based education system for the VAD team
  • Product Incident Initiation and Tracking
  • Mapping to find other HeartMate II centers and community-based resources for patients who are traveling
  • Resources such as document templates, equipment manuals, and instructions for use (IFUs); links to other MCS-related sites

The system was developed based on multiple rounds of user testing at multiple VAD centers in the United States, including transplant and open heart centers. Initial beta sites have reported the system improves efficiency in handling a number of important VAD program management functions.

Karl Nelson, Administrative Director for the Advanced Cardiac Care Program at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, participated in the beta testing phase. "We were pleased to take part in the Thoratec Connect pilot and found the resources available for HeartMate II patients to be quite valuable," he said. "The system is remarkably easy to use, and we plan to utilize it as a critical component of our VAD program management going forward."

Thoratec Connect is an offering under the Thoratec 360™ portfolio of programs and services. Thoratec 360 delivers comprehensive, experience-based programs and services designed to elevate MCS program excellence, facilitate program growth, and accelerate awareness and accessibility of effective MCS treatments. Some of the additional offerings of Thoratec 360 include training and education programs, reimbursement education and support, Joint Commission Certification assistance, a clinical and economic benchmarking program known as Foundations, community cardiology education, extending care to the community through Shared Care™ and ongoing clinical programs to improve outcomes.

"As we continue to advance MCS therapy, a critically important component of our market development and market leadership strategy is the portfolio of programs and services that we offer to support our centers, clinicians and patients," said Gary Burbach, Thoratec's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are dedicated to partnering with our customers to ensure the highest quality of care and excellent patient outcomes. Thoratec Connect is an exciting new offering designed to facilitate VAD program management and enable centers to extend our life-restoring therapies to additional patients in need."