2 page Case Study
Posted: 3/8/2011
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QIAGEN Screening Device Saves Women’s Lives in Developing Countries

careHPV Test Runs on Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Real-Time OS

Although cervical cancer is preventable and treatable, globally nearly 500,000 women suffer from the disease every year, and more than 270,000 die. Eighty percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, where women do not have access to screening technology. QIAGEN has joined forces with InHand Electronics and Microsoft to develop a cervical cancer screening device that can be run by a healthcare worker with minimal training in any setting. Powered by Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2, the careHPV test makes cervical cancer screening a reality in resource-scarce parts of the world.

Situation

QIAGEN is the leading provider of sample and assay technologies. The company’s assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This panel includes the digene HPV Test, which is regarded as a "gold standard" in testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer.

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* As a longtime member of the Windows Embedded Partner Program, we believe in the value of Microsoft's products in the embedded market.*

Dan Rowland
Chief Technology Officer
InHand Electronics

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Worldwide, cervical cancer affects nearly 500,000 women annually and, after breast cancer, is the second-most-common malignancy found in women. One report from the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only about five percent of women had been screened for cervical disease in the previous five years, compared to 40-50 percent in the developed world. As a result, cervical cancer is now the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in developing countries.

“The digene HPV Test is used routinely in many developed countries where there are centralized laboratories and advanced medical infrastructures,” says Michael Farmer, Global Product Manager, Women’s Health & HPV for QIAGEN. “It is also appropriate for urban areas of developing countries where laboratories and medical facilities are already established. But in regions of the world where resources are scarce and accessing healthcare is difficult, we needed to take a new approach.”

QIAGEN’s concept was to build an HPV testing system that could be used anyplace in the world—even if there’s no available electricity or running water—and operated by a minimally trained health care worker unable to read or understand English.

Solution

QIAGEN began development with support from PATH, an international nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health.

The new system had three main components: a shaker table, a luminometer, and a user-operated controller. To build the controller in just four months, QIAGEN sought the engineering expertise of InHand Electronics, a leading provider of low-power embedded systems to OEMs.

InHand recommended the use of Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 because it would provide a real-time monitoring system for detection of equipment failures. Also, Windows Embedded CE allowed InHand to utilize standard Win32 programming, eliminating any potential time barriers by giving chemists the ability to quickly and easily install application updates.

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* We focus on providing our customers the best hardware solutions that enable them to quickly get to market and provide innovative products to their customers; that begins with using reliable products such as Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded CE.*

Dan Rowland
Chief Technology Officer
InHand Electronics

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“As a longtime member of the Windows Embedded Partner Program, we believe in the value of Microsoft's products in the embedded market,” states Dan Rowland, InHand CTO. “We focus on providing our customers the best hardware solutions that enable them to quickly get to market and provide innovative products to their customers; that begins with using reliable products such as Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded CE.”

The solution utilized InHand’s standard COTS Fingertip4 single board computer, which includes on-board Flash, LCD controller, touch screen controller, USB host and client, serial port headers, and SD and CF slots. The other two system components connect to the controller utilizing serial ports and USB 1.1 Host and InHand’s COTS daughter card, Fingerboard.

Additionally, InHand designed in a NEC 4.1” WVGA display with integrated 4-wire resistive touch screen and created a custom enclosure using injection molded ABS plastics via a rapid, low-cost process.

The final product, careHPV Test, is the first semi-automated assay test of its kind. It guides minimally trained persons with an easy-to-use interface that verifies component hook-up and provides instructions, test status, and same-day results in a language-independent format.

Benefits

In addition to speeding up the development cycle for QIAGEN, the use of Windows Embedded CE 6.0 in the careHPV Test Controller delivers several important benefits.

Using Microsoft’s .NET Compact Framework to write the main application enabled InHand to quickly create an easy-to-use, GUI-driven system that minimizes the number of steps for technicians, as to reduce error and increase ease-of-use.

“Windows Embedded technology supports a rich graphical user environment, which made it easy to create an interface with simple icons to provide instructions, test status, and results,” says Rowland.

In order to reduce user error, the system set-up was designed to be straightforward, and automatically detect if the three components’ cables are correctly connected. Additionally, the device and software hide the system test complexities, including all conditional test sequence items, such as temperature control, with the use of ambient temperature sensing within the hardware design.

QIAGEN needed the device to permit the ability to update the process flow and timing in the field without recompiling the application. Using .NET Compact Framework, InHand created a configurable solution that allows QIAGEN scientists to use a simple text editor to modify critical aspects of the process control.

careHPV Test Controller
          careHPV Test Controller

The result is a software program that provides technicians with step-by-step instructions, while hiding the technical aspects of the test instruments, then reading the results, utilizing software written with specific calculations of positive or negative, and finally saving results to an SD Card.

The new careHPV Test system decreases test time for the typical cervical exam from days to hours, eliminating the barrier of delayed results and expanding access to cervical cancer screening technology.

Keyword: Medical Devices; Medical Devices

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 3500 employees

Organization Profile

QIAGEN is the leading provider of sample and assay technologies. QIAGEN employs more than 3,500 people in over 35 locations worldwide.


Hardware

  • 128MB SDRAM
  • 64MB Flash
  • 4.1-inch WVGA touchscreen
  • USB, Serial, SD, CF


Software and Services
  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2
  • Platform Builder For Windows Embedded CE 6.0
  • Microsoft .NET Compact Framework

Vertical Industries
Manufacturing & Resources

Country/Region
Germany

Languages
English

Partner(s)
InHand

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