MED-EL Medical Electronics is a leading provider of hearing implant systems worldwide. The company was founded by Austrian scientists and industry pioneers, Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, who together developed the world’s first microelectronic, multichannel cochlear implant in the mid 70’s. Headquartered in Innsbruck, Austria, MED-EL products are the result of 30 years of focused research and the mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication and quality of life. MED-EL sells its products in over 100 countries with more than 30 offices worldwide. As a part of its dedication to overcoming hearing loss as a barrier to communication, MED-EL invests heavily in R&D and the development of its employees.
MED-EL has a strong tradition of advancing the technological and scientific foundation in the field of hearing implants. The company’s strong and consistent focus on research and development continues to fuel the pipeline of new ideas and innovations to ensure hearing implant solutions are customized to meet each candidate’s unique hearing loss needs.
As a medical electronic company tasked with delivering safe and innovative hearing implant systems worldwide, MED-EL reinvests more than 15 percent of its revenue into research and development. In doing so, the company demanded a solution to streamline the access to the most up-to-date data across its 28 subsidiary offices while adhering to industry regulations to protect its brand, employees and customers.
With regulatory requirements in place that require data managed in an electronic format, the conventional paper-based system along with numerous versions of excel spreadsheets was no longer an efficient solution to support company growth. The combination of a paper-based system and a homegrown database solution resulted in data repositories that offered very little functionality. Having the ability to track and trend complaints and provide the data in a timely manner was essential to help drive down administrative costs and provide accessibility across the company. There was a need for a better solution to control the quality of relevant data using a document management process that was centralized and easily visible by all levels of management.
Solution and Implementation
After evaluating several software solutions from different vendors and databases developed inhouse, MED-EL selected Sparta Systems’ TrackWise quality management software to streamline its processes and data presentation needs. Working closely with Sparta Systems to integrate TrackWise, MED-EL enhanced the reporting capabilities of the business intelligence application, Crystal Reports, to present users with a status and overview of outstanding tasks and graphical statistics. The ability to create customized dashboards for the complaint process encouraged a cross-collaborative environment and eliminated time wasted communicating through email.
In transitioning to an automated method, MED-EL was concerned with employee reaction to switching to an electronic system and the level of training that would be required. MED-EL staff found the transition well received by enabling the user-friendly advanced desktop search option. With the option to create predefined templates, MED-EL could extract the exact data needed for further processing and keep reporting efforts consistent.
MED-EL rolled out TrackWise in the Innsbruck, Austria headquarters in November 2008. MED-EL was able to harmonize its reporting to track all activity throughout the enterprise from when a document first enters its system and open up visibility to the audit trail when required. With the predefined templates, MED-EL retrieved accurate data in a timely manner which increased the level of information sharing in a much clearer, precise formatting.
Streamlining document management processes has allowed MED-EL to improve operational efficiencies by 50 percent. The higher quality of information helped MED-EL gain a better view into its change request processes, identify trends or issues earlier and ensure its reporting was accurate and credible.
TrackWise allows greater visibility of critical information for effective decision making, transparency of operational information and collaboration to coincide with MED-EL’s foundation for growth and innovation to open up a world of sound to people around the world.