This guest post by Gregory St. Clair, staff software architect at Arthrex, discusses how they, as a Couchbase partner working in the global medical device field, leverages Couchbase to power its applications and improve surgical workflows. The article will explore why Couchbase was chosen out of all the database options and share specific examples of how Couchbase helps Arthrex solve today’s data and integration needs.

Medical device maker Arthrex’s mission is “Helping Surgeons Treat their Patients Better” by advancing minimally invasive surgical technology. To do this, Arthrex developed thousands of innovative products and technologies focused on patient safety and clinical outcomes. With Couchbase embedded in its surgical products, Arthrex empowers surgeons, including those who rely on traditionally slow hospital networks, to capture data in customer hospitals and operating rooms regardless of network connectivity. Arthrex harnesses this data in its cloud-based surgeon-patient communication tool.

Offline Connectivity

Arthrex patient care does not stop after surgery – the company also provides post-op communications for patients. To ensure customized care, Arthrex requires a database with cloud capabilities that can accommodate distributed edge infrastructures connected to thousands of medical devices worldwide, all from a universal platform.

Couchbase is used in customer hospitals and operating rooms to manage the capture, sync and storage of patient data, surgical data and media metadata. This data is used for intraoperative and post-operative review, as well as to facilitate the automatic creation of patient care reports.

Arthrex’s Synergy surgical devices, a suite of interconnected surgical devices including endoscopic camera systems, run Couchbase to ensure they are always fast and available, regardless of sporadic network connectivity. Arthrex can seamlessly sync data captured from connected IoT devices to a centralized server for further processing. If connectivity is interrupted, devices continue to operate. Once connectivity is restored, data is automatically synchronized across the organization, ensuring data consistency and integrity.

Edge computing poses unique privacy challenges. As businesses move toward the far edge, they typically deal with data on a massive scale. Every bit of data needs to be secured in transit and at rest. Arthrex and its customers must abide by privacy regulations to keep critical consumer and patient data protected. The company must ensure adherence to data privacy laws and regulations, including HIPAA and GDPR, which govern the transfer of health data to central cloud servers for processing. With Sync Gateway, Arthrex can manage user- and facility-level access controls. Additionally, Couchbase provides Transport Layer Security (TLS) for transport and database encryption for further protection.

Couchbase in Action – From Pre-Op to Post-Op

Arthrex delivers patient care all the way into patients’ homes through state-of-the-art technology. Using cloud and mobile capabilities, surgeons can create a rich post-op report using an iPad or other device to recap procedures and use surgical data to suggest the best post-op care for patients. Coming out of surgery can be stressful and overwhelming – paperwork is the last thing a patient wants to look at upon waking up from an operation. Via Arthrex technology, patients can go home and view post-op information, including pain expectations and prescription details.

Patient-First Offerings Made Possible Through Advanced Database Technology

Given its distributed architecture, Arthrex has unique database needs. By partnering with Couchbase, Arthrex delivers: 

    • Embedded Linux: Arthrex medical devices run a strictly controlled version of embedded Linux. 
    • Flexible data models: Arthrex must be able to move data around the ecosystem among devices. But in a relational database, this is very hard. Using a non-relational database provides flexibility with NoSQL and JSON.
    • Adaptable connectivity: Some devices may be in hospitals with connectivity issues or cybersecurity policies that do not allow devices to connect. Couchbase has offline-first capabilities, so doctors can still conduct surgery without interruptions.
    • Privacy and security: Arthrex customers operate in a regulated environment and need to protect critical patient information. Couchbase provides encryption and access controls to ensure privacy compliance.
    • Performance and reliability: Patients’ lives depend on Arthrex devices, and Arthrex depends on a modern database to ensure the company’s products are built at the highest levels of quality and safety.
    • Data replication: Arthrex relies on Couchbase to help integrate standalone devices with a greater ecosystem of hospital systems and external apps, such as patient communication tools.

With Couchbase Server and Sync Gateway, Arthrex reaches customer hospitals and operating rooms to manage the capture, synchronization and storage of image metadata and machine readings from Arthrex devices. This partnership enables Arthrex to minimize risk, downtime and disconnected operations.

Learn more about how Couchbase on Amazon Web Services (AWS) enables Arthrex to improve patient outcomes with IoT data here.


Posted by James Kim, Corporate Communications Manager

James Kim is a B2B corporate communications professional. He currently works as Corporate Communications Manager for Couchbase, where he manages all things analyst and media relations.

Leave a reply