Avancen Transforms Delivery of Oral Pain Medications With Digi System on Module

"As WiFi has gained momentum in healthcare, we quickly shifted our designs to connect wirelessly, which hospitals prefer for reasons of security and convenience. And as we’ve transitioned to our WiFi version, Digi has been right there with us."

Ned Buffington, Chief Executive Officer

Avancen, an innovative startup focused on improving patient care at the bedside, has created the wireless Medication on Demand (MOD®), the world’s first patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device for oral medications. Approved by the FDA, the MOD® device is being deployed in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities around the country. And that device relies on the Digi RCM6600W system on module for built-in intelligence, WiFi connectivity, and simple operation.


The Medication on Demand system
The Avancen Medication on Demand (MOD) patient-controlled analgesic device automatically and securely dispenses pill-based pain medication. It’s based on the Digi RCM6600W MiniCore system on module.

In the busy orthopedics ward of a major teaching hospital, Kevin Jenkins is in pain. Fortunately, his arthroplasty the previous day was a complete success. Now, however, as he begins his arduous recovery, the dull ache surrounding his newly replaced knee has escalated to a sharply throbbing pain. He presses the “call” button for his nurse and reports the heightened pain and requests medication. And waits.

Unfortunately, even in this top-flight hospital, it can take a while to receive oral pain medications from nurses who juggle countless responsibilities. Kevin is at the mercy of any number of other events on the floor that lead to average waits of 10 minutes or more before receiving painkilling medication. And since Kevin’s nurse has five or six patients under her care, she spends more than one-third of her shift simply delivering pills.

Unfortunately, Kevin’s case isn’t unusual. While automated or patient-controlled IV medications are commonplace, the delivery of as-needed (PRN) oral pain medication is constrained by an overload of nursing tasks that create delays and worsen the patient’s perception of pain. In response, Avancen has created the Medication On Demand (MOD®), the first patient-controlled analgesic (PCA) device that empowers patients to administer their own PRN oral pain medication. With the MOD device, Kevin can – with complete security and clinical control – simply wave a RFID wrist band in front of the locked, pre-programmed device when he needs or wants pain-controlling medication that is part of his treatment plan.


The Digi RCM6600W MiniCore system on module

The MOD® boasts a sophisticated level of processing intelligence and connectivity – thanks to the RCM6600W MiniCore module from Digi. This system on module provides Avancen engineers a compact module in a mini PCI Express form factor with integrated Wi-Fi/802.11b/g functionality. Based on the Rabbit 6000 microprocessor, the RCM6600W controls the peripherals, ID reader, motor, and WiFi connection to a secure and centralized enterprise server – all at an attractive price with low power requirements.

According to Ned Buffington, chief executive officer, Digi has been a key to the product’s early success. “Our initial designs used USB connectivity, which required nurses to use a computer to program a single device,” he said. “But as WiFi has gained momentum in healthcare, we quickly shifted our designs to connect wirelessly, which hospitals prefer for reasons of security and convenience. And as we’ve transitioned to our WiFi version, Digi has been right there with us. With its built-in WiFi connectivity, the Digi RCM6600W has made the upgrade to wireless much easier.”


The Avancen MOD® device can have significantly positive effects on clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. For instance, the MOD can “smooth out” medication peaks/valleys. “Typically, when a patient has a high degree of pain, he might receive a 10 mg Percocet pill every four hours,” Buffington said. “That’s a dose that’s based more on the hospital’s workflow and staffing levels – it’s simply too difficult to administer smaller doses more frequently. But with the MOD®, we can give the patient a 5 mg dose every two hours. That lets the nurse focus on other tasks and keeps the patient in a steadier state of medication – eliminating the peaks and valleys that can carry a greater risk of addiction. And when the patient can take his own medication, there’s no waiting or anxiety. They have a better appetite and sleeping pattern, so healing is faster.”

Buffington explained that Digi has played a key role in the product’s success. “Digi has gone the extra mile for us,” he said, “and that has been extremely important. For instance, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston is our largest reference customer, and we were having a problem with an unusual combination of security protocols. We went back to Digi, and they were extremely helpful. They took the time to sort out the protocols and firmware versions to fix the issue so that BIDMC’s WiFi worked with our MOD® device. Digi has been great to work with.”