Medical Devices Teach Resiliency

When Tackling Problems

There is a terrific article in yesterday’s WSJ titled “The Power of Unsolvable Problems” – it describes the many benefits of working on seemingly unsolvable problems, including helping to develop resiliency and “grit”  (a much-discussed concept for parents, like me, of adolescents and teenagers). Northwestern University’s school of engineering is harnessing this power by giving students a design-build assignment to create a simple medical device. Working with actual patients and limited budgets, the projects are having surprising – and positive – results.

An interesting note in the article points to “fear of failure” as one of the biggest inhibitors to student performance. In fact, research indicates that this attitude can severely hamper learning and growth. An old friend of mine, John Connors, is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, was the New England Mixed Martial Arts Coach of the Year, owns Connors MMA in Norwood, MA, and has taught martial arts to kids and adults of all ages for over 10 years. He knows something about coaching resiliency. Recently, he recommended a great book: Mindset by Carol Dweck. Dweck is a well-know Stanford psychologist who has done extensive research into what she terms “growth” vs. “fixed” mindsets – the benefits of one, and limitations of the other. Although a bit repetitive and with some questionable examples, her thesis is compelling. As my son succinctly put it after reading: “a fixed mindset is like a puddle that will eventually dry up…a growth mindset is like a spring welling up”. By working to create simple medical devices, engineering students at Northwestern are learning this same, valuable lesson.

Stick ‘Em Up! Medical Devices As Weapons

Recently  the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid hackers $17,000 in Bitcoin to unlock their systems from so-called “ransomware” – malicious software that locked out hospital administrators from crucial medical records (read the story, here)

It’s not a long walk from hacking into hospital records to hacking into medical devices themselves. Over the past 2-3 years, a number of “white hat” hackers have demonstrated vulnerabilities in networked devices…including pacemakers, infusion pumps, and many more.

Security vulnerabilities may be introduced when software is translated (“localized”) into other languages. For this reason, it is critical to consider state-of-the-art software tools and robust testing as part of your overall localization effort.

TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions can help  – our localization tools are in use with 80% of the world’s large software developers and our dedicated testing facilities in Boulder, CO ensure the most rigorous post-localization scrutiny.

TransPerfect MDS – Software Testing QA



Have Device Marketers Solved Twitter’s 140-Character Limitation?

twitter-logoVery interesting article on Pharma MedTech Insights about Twitter advertising via promoted video. To borrow a phrase, it seems that the rumors of Twitter’s death for medical device marketing may have been greatly exaggerated.

Of course, who could blame industry marketers for moving on after FDA’s draft guidance: Internet/Social Media Platforms with Character Space Limitations – Presenting Risk and Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices (catchy title, right?)

Now, with the advent this summer of promoted video, device makers may finally have a way to utilize Twitter that still complies with the Agency’s disclosure requirements.

The Elocate video is remarkable for a few reasons. Not only is it effective and compliant, it makes use of the old sales strategy “tell more to sell more”: production processes that may seem commonplace (even boring) to industry can be novel and interesting for consumers. Beer manufacturers famously used this approach at the dawn of advertising when describing common brewing processes and ingredients. The first person to tell the story owns it!

Even more interesting, you can add overseas markets to your feed when you localize (translate) your videos – voiceover is the best approach (don’t you just hate trying to read subtitles on a tiny phone screen?) Coincidentally, video localization is among our fastest growing service categories – maybe manufacturers are getting ready to go global with the video solution to Twitter’s character-limit challenge? We’ll see.

What Does P&G’s Ad Agency Switch Say About Digital Labeling and Translation Analytics?

Interesting piece on APM’s Marketplace program (here) about the increasing importance of analytics in digital advertising. Surprise, surprise! Companies want to save money and increase productivity and, in this regard, digital media analytics (aka metrics) have been branded “transformational”.

There’s a very similar movement afoot in the translation industry. For starters, translation management systems (like GlobalLink Project Director) have been helping device manufacturers get a better handle on their translation metrics for several years now. Reports generated from TM leverage and review statistics help demonstrate reuse savings and increase translation review productivity, for example.

The next step in this (r)evolution is end-to-end digital labeling and translation analytics – a strategy that ties together translation management systems with component content management systems and guided authoring tools to maximize reuse and compliance, minimize content costs and translation turnaround…oh yeah, and metrics. Lots and lots of metrics.

Crimson Life Sciences Becomes Part of TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions

TP_MedicalDeviceSolutions_stacked_cmykOn Monday, 6/1, Crimson Life Sciences officially becomes part of  TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions. Here’s more information from the client notification:

You may be wondering: why the change? The language and content needs of the medical device industry have evolved significantly over the years, and the TransPerfect family of companies has met those changes by developing a wide range of services and technologies to meet the specific needs of device makers. A majority of our work now rests on integrated solutions that help clients reduce cost and risk through process automation and redesign, including:

  • Process Automation Technology
  • Labeling Automation Solutions
  • Validated XML Publishing Systems
  • Automated Website Localization
  • Software Design, Translation, Verification, and Testing
  • E-Learning Development and Localization
  • And more!

Throughout our 23 years in business, Crimson has come to be known as the most quality-focused translation provider in the industry. Our commitment to this goal has not changed, but our name now reflects our full range of integrated solutions for device makers.

It has been our great honor to work with our clients in the medical device industry for the past quarter-century. We look forward to providing innovative services, technologies, and systems as TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions.



Emergent Innovation or The Benefits of Content Management Without the Risk

modular deviceInnovation takes many forms. In rare cases, it’s creation from scratch, completely novel, utterly unpredicted. More commonly, it’s a union of existing elements, combined in some new or unique way and adjusted for a specific purpose. When applied to biological systems, this is called “emergence” – a higher-level system emerges from a set of lower-level components. Many medical device innovations follow this pattern.  Here’s an example from one of our clients – a device that keeps a heart beating (that’s right, when you see it live, the heart is in there, pumping away: incredible) so that it can be transported over longer distances for a life saving transplant. All of the components of this remarkable device existed before they were combined in this specific manner and for this specific purpose: emergence-based innovation. The benefit of an “emergent systems” approach like this is that it reduces risk – of course, there’s the overall risk of the emergent system to consider – but the basis for the system is proven and reliable.

TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions takes a similar approach – we’ve combined validated XML publishing technology with guided authoring capabilities and translation process automation (including online translation review) to produce what we call “The EnCompass System” for labeling automation – a system that can eliminate over +50% of the cost of a traditional, document-based labeling systems: emergence-based innovation! And, our approach has the benefit of lower risk because the modules that make up the EnCompass System have been validated by the world’s leading medical device manufacturers.

The EnCompass System is tomorrow’s content management solution today – and based on industry standards (DITA/XML) so your content won’t be held hostage by proprietary formats.

Eating Our Young: XML Eliminates DTP Revenue for Translation Providers…and That’s a Good Thing

You have to admit, William Blake had a flair for the bizarrely dramatic – consider his rendition of Kronos (father of the Greek gods) devouring one of the Olympians.
Translation companies might have the same reaction to eliminating DTP revenue as someone seeing this Blake painting for the first time. After all, DTP expense can account for up to 50% of the total localization budget for some manufacturers – that’s a lot of revenue for a service provider to give up.
We had a different reaction to XML for a few reasons:
> Two of the leading XML publishing systems, Vasont Systems and Astoria Development, are part of TransPerfect Medical Device  Solutions – we have the tools and know-how to implement these systems.
>  We know that approximately 50% of the error risk in a translation production process is due to formatting – eliminate formatting and you eliminate risk.
> It’s just the right thing to do: manufacturers are working to expand their markets by lowering unit costs so that they can serve more patients – helping them to lower costs is the same thing as expanding access to lifesaving devices for patients around the world.
So, yes, when it comes to DTP revenue we ARE “eating our young” – but it’s a good thing for manufacturers AND for patients.