Digitizing medical services to improve patient care
Infusion therapy is an indispensable part of treatment for many diseases. To date, infusion pumps have been running largely separately from each other. However, infusion programs in everyday hospital work are rather complex: Each patient needs the right treatment in the right place at the right time in the right dosage and volume. In order to avoid errors and save time, all components of the process chains involved need to be optimally coordinated with each other.
In the field of infusion therapy, B. Braun Melsungen AG has been a pioneer from the very beginning: Since the 1930s, the company has worked on improving user safety and patient comfort through innovation. B. Braun Space is an infusion system for medical use. Via infusion pumps, patients receive medication and fluids that are precisely tailored to their individual clinical picture. Between March 2013 and December 2018, Yatta supported B. Braun Melsungen AG in the development of the B. Braun Space infusion systems. The goal was to create a scalable software platform that connects different medical devices, streamlines processes, minimizes sources of errors and thus optimizes patient care in clinical practice.
A smart interplay of medical devices, powered by software
For a software-based optimization of the process chain in infusion therapy, in the future, Space infusion pumps will be interconnected in an efficient way thanks to the Space OnlineSuite and other interacting systems. This does not only make monitoring therapies easier for doctors and nursing staff, but it also provides them with a better overview of what medication is used in what dosage for typical therapies. Moreover, the Space OnlineSuite allows for a centralized configuration of all pumps. With hundreds of pumps under the responsibility of a single chief resident, a software-based, centralized configuration provides a crucial reduction of complexity, so that patients take center stage in medical care.
Consequently, the Space OnlineSuite is becoming the key software system for connecting devices at the hospital, simplifying administrative tasks for medical personnel during everyday hospital work and therefore leaving more time for individual care.
Braun Melsungen AG
Instrument-based infusion technology at B. Braun looks back on a long tradition, in which the invention of the first syringe pump in 1951 represents a landmark. In all subsequent developments, over more than half a century, high quality requirements, together with innovative solutions that simplify daily work, have been a top priority.B. Braun Space introduces a new generation of infusion technology. Perfusor® and Infusomat® Space offer a wide range of functionalities for all hospital and ambulatory applications. System compatibility and network solutions are just as much part of this solution as specific infusion profiles for anesthesia.
Improved patient care as top goal
The ultimate objective in optimizing infusion therapy powered by B. Braun Space is to increase patients’ safety, to improve treatment successes, and to provide high-quality patient care.
One goal of the project is to create a performant and reliable software system ideally prepared for the digital future, the other goal is to extend the functionality of the Space OnlineSuite. This also includes making the Space OnlineSuite as a software system adaptable to changing requirements and processes from an operative and strategic point of view. Furthermore, it needs to support very large hospital installations and provide the option to connect additional devices, so that existing hospital processes may be automated and simplified.
Contributing entrepreneurial and technical know-how to product management
In order to achieve the best result, Yatta is involved in all stages of the software development process, starting with product management – e.g., roadmap brainstorms or the concrete design of features – where Yatta participates actively. Other tasks include the specification of software design and architecture, the implementation of tool chains as well as the development and testing of the software system. Yatta also takes responsibility in taking care of the requirements analysis of future releases, coordinating its efforts with the responsible project partners from IT, Marketing, and Service departments.
The interplay of client and service provider
In addition, Yatta handles system development and integration of additional hardware regarding new generations of pumps and is responsible for coordinating with other service contractors in close cooperation with the respective project leads.
Building future-proof software
As a first step, the software was divided into separate modules to optimize the flexibility and maintainability of the Space OnlineSuite. This decision was based on an architectural analysis. The new, modular architecture reduces the time and effort needed for verification of different sub-applications and, in addition, permits parallelization of software development – in terms of staffing as well as staging. Continuous integration with test automation including UI tests ensure that further development of the Space OnlineSuite can continue in an efficient manner.
Platform independence for a robust application
In order to ensure robustness in everyday hospital work and to be able to process increasing amounts of data in a reliable way, performance and stability of the entire software system were improved. Moreover, it’s necessary to provide support for different generations of infusion pumps. This is possible thanks to a now consistent data model and the data’s platform independence.
In addition, the consumption of resources per connected device was reduced. As a result, the software system underlying B. Braun Space has become more scalable. It now supports hospital installations of a much wider scope, including a higher number of beds and potentially even large-scale installations for several hospitals via a central server in cluster mode.
Functional extensions for medical progress
The Space OnlineSuite’s range of features was also extended by the following additional applications:
The Device Manager permits simultaneous configuration of multiple pumps. This eliminates the time-consuming process of configuring each individual pump. All connected devices can be configured at the same time, regardless of the exact location of a pump in the hospital. In addition, an overview table shows all connected devices so that hospitals can see all important data at a glance and easily keep track of maintenance intervals and software updates.
The B. Braun Space innovations reduce the overall number of administrative tasks for the medical staff, so that physicians and nurses do not need to worry about devices, software, and configurations. The monitoring of pumps and therapies is straightforward and can be done at a central place. This ultimately leaves more time for personal and individual patient care.
Quality assurance for safe patient care
Releasing software for medical technology requires the highest standards of quality management and quality assurance: from software design to implementation to deployment.
Quality requirements include the highest possible test coverage (including the implementation of UI tests and load tests) as well as complete test automation, continuous integration and thorough, systematic documentation.
Since the Space Infusion System is a medical device, it has been developed in accordance with the relevant industry standards: IEC 60601 (Medical Electrical Equipment), IEC 62304 (Medical Device Software – Software Life Cycle Processes), IEC 62366 (Medical Devices - Application of Usability Engineering to Medical Devices), and ISO 14971 (Risk Management).
Our team was commissioned with all aspects of quality assurance and quality management, in some cases also on our own responsibility. The results were examined and approved by B. Braun Melsungen AG, and the relevant supervisory and reporting authorities.
Project Quick Facts
Time frame: March 2013 to December 2018
10 Yatta specialists: product managers, project leads, software architects, software developers and testers.
C++: GNU Tools, CMake, boost Library
Various database technologies, e.g., MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL
Specification of protocols and software architectures
Consulting on technologies and development processes
Software development (fixed rate)
Test automation and verification
Implementation of new applications and extension of existing ones
Robustness in everyday hospital work: increased performance and reliability of the system as a whole
Future-proofing: connection of new pumps/generations of hardware
Flexibility in terms of hospital infrastructure: support of different database systems
Modularization: reduced time and effort in developing and maintaining sub-applications
What B. Braun Melsungen AG Says About Yatta
"Together with B. Braun, Yatta has built up so much know-how that all of our teams benefit from it and the overall performance has increased significantly. What is particularly impressive is that Yatta is able to develop a perfect understanding of our requirements. This is why the Yatta employees enjoy our full confidence and they are 100% involved in all B. Braun activities. We discuss any questions with them as openly as if they were our own employees."
—Dr. Bernd Stich, Project Manager B.Braun Melsungen AG