LifeWatch Services, Inc., U.S. subsidiary of Swiss firm LifeWatch AG (LIFE), is a leading healthcare technology company specializing in wireless remote heart-monitoring services. LifeWatch’s critical patient servicing system – PaceArt – is an application built on the Microsoft Access platform. The system is used by medical technicians to monitor critical cardiac events of over 50,000 patients world-wide. The application has experienced challenges with respect to maintainability, stability, and scalability.

The challenge:  Find a consulting partner with the technical expertise required to support the existing MS Access application (PaceArt) while enhancing the application and migrating it to a new technical platform using .NET and SQL Server.

LifeWatch’s PaceArt system is a critical patient care system.  The application saves lives everyday by enabling trained technicians to respond in real time to abnormal heart signals detected by wearable patient monitors. To date, it has supported approximately 50,000 end users through 3 call centers located in Chicago, San Francisco, and India. It provides tier 1, 2, and 3 support 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. It successfully maintains 99.999% uptime and consistently provides accurate and reliable responses.


The system had not been enhanced or upgraded in 10 years and as a result, its capabilities began to stagnate. In addition, the underlying technologies were no longer supported by Microsoft.

On account of doctors requesting capabilities PaceArt did not possess, LifeWatch realized the potential for increased revenue within the marketplace. It is for this reason LifeWatch sought a consulting partner with the required technical skills to enhance the application.


The solution: Hire a team of dedicated Microsoft Access consultants at Help4Access.


This was a far better solution than hiring temporary employees or freelancers.  Unlike a staffing agency or solo practitioner, Help4Access brings guaranteed business continuity and a corporate body of expertise to the problem.

Help4Access has extensive experience developing solutions for a range of Microsoft Access problems. This saves time by avoiding “reinventing the wheel” and protects project schedules by preventing technical snags from becoming fatal.  Also, Help4Access developers are experienced at working together, saving the time that would otherwise be required to build a cohesive team from scratch.

PaceArt is a system that has pushed the capabilities of Microsoft Access to the limit in terms of size, complexity, and performance. The original system consisted of 150 forms, 200 tables, and a SQL back end with 370 stored procedures. The database, designed as an Access Data Project (.adp) file, was approximately 30 Mb for the front end alone. It also included a huge number of complex third-party components, some of which were no longer supported by their makers.

Upgrading the PaceArt system has been uniquely challenging because the original system was built by Medtronic – an external vendor.  Furthermore, the system was only documented for the operators, with virtually nothing to explain the tens of thousands of lines of underlying code. Many of the legacy plug-ins had no documentation at all, requiring reverse engineering by means of decompiling tools.

By assigning several closely collaborating developers to the task, Help4Access was able to meet LifeWatch’s demanding schedule to support and upgrade its system. Help4Access worked closely with LifeWatch’s software engineering and testing teams to make sure the reliability standard required for a medical-grade application were attained.

In addition, Help4Access’s experience at developing conceptual, logical, and physical technical architecture diagrams offered LifeWatch a clear view of the steps required for each transition phase and from multiple perspectives, e.g., user, technician, doctor, and IT.

The benefits: Enhanced functionality enabled a marketing push to expand sales and grow revenue.

According to Sasha Froyland, founder and CEO of Help4Access,

“70 percent of other consulting companies’ Access-database upgrade projects fail to come in on time, on budget, or fail to meet the original business requirements. Help4Access’s success rates are higher because of two reasons: 1) the rapid application development capabilities built into Microsoft Access, which enables development at lightning speeds, and 2) our world-class senior consultants, who know how to expertly modify Microsoft Access so that systems can be upgraded to meet changing customer needs, avoiding expensive and disruptive outright system replacement.”

“We’re proud to be part of LifeWatch’s success story. By rapidly delivering the functional upgrades they needed, we were able to deliver the functionality required for LifeWatch to save lives and successfully capture new market share.”

“Our Help4Access consultants are the best in the nation because they are a highly focused team assigned to high quality projects.”

“Our customers receive reliable services, scalable resources, and a dedicated consultant who has a deep understanding of their unique business processes. As a result, our clients receive the highest level of support and a competitive advantage over their competition.”

“Our society benefits when the products and services invented by our clients are delivered promptly with the support of the dedicated team at Help4Access.”

Since 1997, Help4Access has provided scalable database applications and Microsoft Access support for Fortune 500 companies such as LifeWatch, Google, EBay and many small to mid-sized organizations in every industry.  To learn what we can do for you and your business, contact us today!