By Mary Vanac
Simbionix USA Corp. has gone mobile with its surgery simulation education offerings.
The e-Learning division of Israeli company Simbionix Ltd., eTrinsic, launched its first mobile product: An application for Apple’s (NSDQ:AAPL) iPhone, iPod and iPad devices that pushes the division’s online courses for the medical and healthcare industries to the palm of your hand.
Simbionix is introducing its first app at the 12th World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery in National Harbor, Md., today through Saturday.
“Smart-phones are rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for physicians,” said Paul Jensen, general manager of the Simbionix Medical Education Division, in a written statement. “The addition of mobile-based training gives medical device manufacturers an efficient way to communicate the safe and effective use of surgical devices.”
The market for medical applications is exploding. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. doctors own smart phones, according to Manhattan Research, a pharmaceutical and healthcare market research and advisory firm in New York. Manhattan Research expects that penetration rate to be 81 percent in two years.
“By 2012, all physicians will walk around with a stethoscope and a smart mobile device, and there will be very few professional activities that physicians wont be doing on their hand-helds,” said senior director of research Monique Levy.
The Simbionix app combines high-fidelity 3D animations, surgical interactions and assessments to educate medical professionals and measure their understanding. The company is also developing applications for other mobile platforms.
Based in Cleveland, the U.S. Simbionix unit is best known for its surgical procedure simulators — systems that use computer screens and software attached to medical instruments to train surgeons and other medical professionals how to do minimally invasive procedures such as scope the lungs or implant a brain stent or pacemaker. Most of the systems are branded under the Mentor name and are made by a contract manufacturer in Eastlake, Ohio.
In 2006, Simbionix acquired eTrinsic Inc., a Louisville, Colo.-based company that developed online medical education and assessment tools, for undisclosed terms. eTrinsic, which has since relocated to Denver, had worked with Simbionix for about a year before the companies merged their “capabilities, technologies and client relationships,” said Simbionix President Ran Bronstein in a statement about the acquisition.
By getting together, the companies “could more quickly develop and deliver a market-changing solution,” Bronstein said. “While both companies have been leaders in the medical education and training market for eight years, the market is still in its infancy in terms of both capabilities and revenue growth. We intend to increase our pace of innovation to develop an advanced and comprehensive solution for physician and sales force education and training.”
In 2008, the eTrinsic division released Version 6.0 of its Learning Management System, which delivers online medical education modules to tens of thousands of users. The new version refined modules for enhanced scalability, greater speed and superior performance, Simbionix said at the time.
In September 2009, Simbionix hired Jensen, a former IT executive, to take charge of MentorLearn, a learning management system launched in 2009 that expands training and education beyond Simbionix’s core simulation products.