COMBIOMED. Technology at the service of health care
BY CARY CHAVIANO, PHOTOS: JOSÉ (TITO) MERIÑO
With more than 35 years of experience in the field of medical technology, the company COMBIOMED Digital Medical Technology has introduced over 45,000 medical devices and pieces of equipment in the National Health System of Cuba and other countries, mainly in Latin America and Africa.
Due to the important role played by this company in the development of this sector on the island, CubaPLUS Magazine interviewed its director, Eng. Arlem Lesmes Fernández Sigler, who referred, among other things, to the history of the institution and its relevance in this field.
“Since its foundation and up to the mid-1980s, the main activity of the current company was linked to the design, development, production and commercialization of minicomputers, microcomputers and video-terminals, which were used in Cuba in different sectors, such as the sugar industry, economic planning and research centers, and they were also exported,” explained Fernández.
In fact, the birth of the company is linked to the Digital Research Center, created in the late 1960s, for the development of the first Cuban computer CID201, a milestone reached on April 18, 1970.
Other examples of the work in those years, he pointed out, were the involvement in developing the first selfcontained complex medical equipment developed in Cuba, MEDICID 03, in alliance with CNIC’s National Center of Neurophysiology, and the CARDIOCID PC, first ECG and own equipment, introduced into social practice in 1985 by the Central Institute of Digital Research (ICID), successor of the CID, and predecessor of the current company.
All of COMBIOMED’s equipment has had a notable impact on priority programs in the country, such as care for seriously ill patients, surgical activity, the mother-child program and that of cardiovascular diagnostics. These have had a positive impact on the health indicators of the Cuban population today, the executive assured.
In response to a question about the products and services offered to domestic and foreign clients, he explained that the company’s results are linked to five fundamental areas: cardiovascular diagnosis and rehabilitation; patient monitoring and life support; electrical stimulation and rehabilitation; diagnosis of chronic respiratory diseases; and solutions for primary health care.
Within the cardiovascular diagnosis and rehabilitation area, he highlighted two models of resting ECG (CARDIOCID T50/S100 and D200A), the cardiorespiratory stress test system (ERGOCID AT PLUS), the long-term ECG system (EXCORDE 3C), the outpatient blood pressure monitoring system (HIPERMAX PLUS) and the ECG telemetry system (MOVICORDE 2G).
In patient monitoring and life support, there are mainly the patient monitor (DOCTUS VIII), the maternal-fetal monitor (DOCTUS MF) and the pulse oximeter (OXY AE); within the electrical stimulation equipment, there is a cardiac defibrillator (CARDIODEF 2) and two electrical stimulators (STIMUL W and TERAPLUS).
The company, he said, provides technical support services to the installed technology which guarantees its sustainability, while it also offers automation services to industry, and production and assembly of mechanical and electronic parts to third parties.
Fernández emphasized that the organization he heads has played an important role in supplying equipment for the attention and care of patients suffering from COVID-19, who reach serious and critical stages of the disease. He said that 100% of the institutions that care for patients with covid in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and Progressive Care Units in Cuba have COMBIOMED’s life-support products and in some centers they represent all the technology available.
During 2020 and in the midst of the epidemic, he said, around 300 monitors for monitoring vital parameters (DOCTUS VIII) were delivered to Cuba’s National Health System; more than 90 cardiac defibrillators (CARDIODEF 2), over a thousand digital blood pressure cuffs (HIPERMAX BF), more than 200 pulse oximeters (OXY AE) and numerous crash carts with resuscitation accessories (URGRAV), which is evidence of the important role that COMBIOMED’s work represents in the health sector of the island.
Referring to the organization’s projects, its director pointed out that there are several under research, mainly associated with diagnosis and cardiovascular rehabilitation, but undoubtedly the main one, taking into account the current pandemic, is linked to the design of a high-performance pulmonary ventilator for adult patient intensive care.
Once its safety and efficacy are proven from a technical, medical and assistance point of view, and it is registered by the Cuban regulatory authority, the Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices (CECMED), this equipment will be introduced into the Cuban Health System and will provide the country with a national solution for mechanical ventilation of serious and critical patients in intensive care wards, which is essential for their life support.
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