Category Archives: Uncategorized

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



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.



Worldwide Medical Costs Declining (in part) Thanks to XML!

OK – maybe the recently reported, substantial drop in worldwide medical costs isn’t entirely due to XML publishing technologies…but it’s one good example. All across the healthcare industries, companies and providers are adopting new methods and technologies that are helping them reduce cost and – finally – contain runaway expenses.

In the medical device industry, content-related costs have been growing rapidly over the past 20 years. But recently, companies like Medtronic, J&J, and Stryker have adopted XML publishing as a powerful way to reduce turnaround, cost, and risk – making their products more price-competitive around the world.

For instance, Medtronic implemented an XML content management system from our Vasont division to cut the time and cost of their translation/localization process by 50% – as one Technical Communications Manager there said recently, “We process ten times more content with the same headcount – this wouldn’t be possible without XML.”

XML is just one of the automation technologies offered by TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions to help manufacturers lower their content cost and risk and increase productivity – or, automate the entire labeling process with our EnCompass system. At TransPerfect, we’re helping to drive down the cost of healthcare – and increase profitability for our clients!

“I am not in the office now. Send any work to translate”…

So reads the Welsh mistranslation for a road sign in Swansea, UK.

Apart from providing an opportunity to utilize my Celtic Studies degree (including Welsh grammar), it also offers a cautionary tale for medical device manufacturers producing mulit-lingual documentation  (see several other, riotous examples of Welsh mistranslations – thanks to Laurel D in our Boston office)

Errors like the one above are not really mistranslations. They are process-related: the result of someone who doesn’t speak the language copy-and-pasting content that they thought was correct. As part of our ISO 13485/ISO 14971-certified QMS, we keep process statistics on errors like this. We know that DTP-related, copy-paste errors are among the most common..and hazardous. In fact, about half of the serious translation errors we find (may result in patient harm) are the result of DTP processes.

This is one big reason why XML publishing is such a benefit for medical device manufacturers. XML publishing with a component content management system (like Vasont or Astoria) is the easiest way to reduce your DTP-related error risk. By virtually eliminating DTP tasks, XML processes not only reduce cost, they also enhance patient safety.






The Sweet Taste of XML Success

hersheybarTwo weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Hershey, PA for the Vasont User Group conference (Vasont is headquartered in nearby Emigsville, PA). Part of the conference included a tour through the town of Hershey and a recounting of Milton Hershey’s incredible success story: bankrupt 3 times, his aunt’s house (pledged as loan collateral) on the verge of foreclosure, a junior bank officer personally signed on a last-chance loan to fill an order that enabled Hershey to repay his debts and catapulted him on his way to being one of the wealthiest men in America. Perhaps even more remarkable, he used his great wealth to establish a school for underprivileged boys that continues to this day and is backed by a large portion of Hershey corporation stock – you can watch read/see the story here.

Medical device and life sciences customers who attended the conference presented on the cost and time-savings benefits of XML publishing supported by Vasont. And, although XML systems can be notoriously difficult to implement, a quote from Merk summed up the feeling among attendees: “There are no unhappy Vasont customers”  – this is a statement almost as remarkable as the Hershey success story itself.

If you are contemplating XML publishing as a way to cut documentation cost and time or are struggling through a current XML implementation with another vendor, perhaps it’s time to consider Vasont. With deep experience and strong references in the medical device industry, Vasont can provide you with the sweet taste of XML success.




Don’t Get Yanukovych’d

Yanukovych_WEB-readyShortly after Yanukovych was ousted as Ukraine’s President, the Ukrainian Parliament repealed a recent law allowing the use of “regional languages” like Russian.  Language has long been been tied up with issues of nationalism and national identity and can often be something of a “land mine” (not to be indelicate in the current, tense, situation).

If you think that these types of language sensitivities don’t apply to the medical device industry, you’re wrong. On one recent client visit, I heard a story of how the company had sent Russian instructions to a location in Estonia…not realizing the reaction that it might provoke (after the Soviet domination of the Baltic States). The result? Even though an exemption could have been written, the client demanded everything in Estonian and at a significant cost. The moral of the story? Know the political implications of your language choices when doing business abroad.

“Milder Than Expected” Device Tax Costs 33,000 Med Device Jobs, Impacts 132,000 Others

Advamed_for-web was a little schizophrenic in reporting the effects of the medical device tax, as outlined in a striking new Advamed report. According to their first post (2/12) the Device Tax’s impact was “milder than expected”…but their later post (2/18) states that 33,000 jobs have been lost in the industry already. So, what gives?

Well, it turns out that 53% of senior-level respondents had predicted “somewhat negative” or “very negative” effects when, after the fact, 45% actually experienced these negative effects. I guess that’s somewhat milder, but not by much.

At first blush, you might be tempted to say “this is an industry-sponsored report and exaggerated” but the scope of the survey suggests otherwise – responses came from 38 companies, accounting for 40% of domestic medical device revenue…45% had revenue below $100 million, the rest were above.

Other notable negative consequences reported by AdvaMed include:

  • 30.6% said they had reduced R&D
  • 10% said they were relocating manufacturing overseas
  • 58% were considering layoffs if tax is not repealed
  • 50% were considering reducing R&D if tax is not repealed

Not a pretty picture.

TransPerfect Doubles Down on XML Publishing for Medical Device

Recent news highlights the growing importance of XML publishing for the medical device industry: Just before the holidays, TransPerfect announced a merger with Vasont Systems – a leader in componet content management systems for the medical device industry. With the addition of Vasont, TransPerfect adds another XML publishing technology – one that is already in place with medical device manufacturers such as Medtronic and J&J – on top of existing XML technology from Astoria Sofware.

Why is TransPerfect doubling-down on XML technology for medical device? Our work with device manufacturers demonstrates a 50% reduction in labeling cost and turnaround with this automated approach to publishing. In some cases, formatting and formatting QC activities can represent as much 70% of translation turnaround time! Given the cost and margin pressures facing manufacturers today, it’s small wonder that interest in XML publishing is at an all-time high. In response, the Vasont merger substantially broadens the XML technology and service offering available to device makers through TransPerfect Medical Device Solutions.

Press Release_Vasont merger