St. Jude Medical has launched a medical app intended for patients with chronic pain who use the company’s spinal cord stimulation devices — called Patient Controller. The medical app helps patients manage the programs prescribed by their physicians and communicates with the implanted/external device using Bluetooth.

The medical app lets patients more easily turn the device’s nerve stimulation on and off, select the right programs, adjust the amplitude of the device, and check the device’s battery. Patient Controller will also inform patients that the device generator is in MRI mode and whether the sleep timer is on or off. Patient Controller also provides information on the strength of the nerve stimulation signal being sent and the location of the signal on the patient’s body.

There’s little doubt that spinal cord stimulation systems fill a need. In a recent press release announcing its Protégé rechargeable nerve stimulation device, St Jude Medical—which is not affiliated with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital–pointed out that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. The Patient Controller app may help meet their needs by making it more convenient for patients to manipulate their implanted device. Unfortunately, however, the mobile app is currently available only for use on the iPod Touch, which limits its value since the vast majority of Americans have iPhones, and Android or Windows based phones.

St Jude’s spinal cord nerve stimulation devices join several other neurostimulation systems approved by the FDA to relieve pain. Cefaly, for instance, a headband used to treat migraines, operates on a similar principle and has been proposed as an alternative to medication to prevent the headaches.

Patient Controller – US
By St. Jude Medical, Inc.

Price: Free

iPhone, iPad: iTunes