Four Rivers and PanGo Networks partner; FDA recalls C02 measuring device; Olympus licenses software to Axeda; Colorado biomed week and MD Expo 2004 recaps; Quest releases display controller boards; and more

Continuum MR Infusion System Receives Novation Contract
Novation, the supply company for VHA Inc and the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), has awarded Medrad with a 3-year contract for its Continuum MR compatible infusion system. Novation’s decision follows an extensive product review as part of the company’s innovative technology evaluation process, resulting in the clinical confirmation of Continuum’s capability for improving patient care and safety in the MR environment. As a result of the 3-year contract, Novation made Continuum available to more than 2,300 VHA and UHC member health care organizations, representing 90,000 hospital beds.

 “Medrad was awarded this contract based on [our] new technology evaluation process. The process facilitates patient access to the latest new medical technologies as they emerge in the market,” says Brigitte Chorey, Novation’s senior product manager.

Continuum was the first infusion system compatible with the magnetic resonance environment. Introduced by Medrad in 2002, the system solved the problem of managing MRI patients on infusion therapy who historically would either be taken off medication or remain connected to a non-MR compatible infusion pump outside the scanner room.


Wireless Tracking Systems Alleviate Hospital Inefficiencies
Over the past several years, hospitals across the country have incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue due to missing assets. Rigorous hospital emergency and fire codes mandate the construction of fire walls to prevent the spread of fires, which makes hardwiring for asset tracking almost impossible. In an effort to help medical facilities lower operational costs and increase efficiency, Four Rivers and PanGo Networks have devised a strategy to implement modern technology in the area of asset tracking.

The two companies recently partnered to offer 802.11-based wireless asset-tracking capabilities to more than 850 hospitals nationwide. Under the terms of the agreement, Four Rivers will integrate PanGo’s Locator technology, a complete 802.11-based wireless asset tracking system with its TMS Locator™. The combination of PanGo’s location-aware system and Four Rivers’ computer maintenance management software allows hospitals to easily maintain and track critical location information pertaining to mobile assets and resources. PanGo allows for wireless asset tracking to utilize existing 802.11 systems without altering the building’s structure.

Henry Wilde, Four Rivers’ CEO and chairman, says, “802.11 has become the de facto standard for today’s hospital. PanGo is the first to offer a complete asset tracking solution that leverages this existing wireless investment. Integrating the PanGo solution into our software not only cuts costs, but allows for an easy implementation, which is a crucial attribute.”

According to Four Rivers, liabilities associated with stringent maintenance requirements, labor shortages as a result of redundant search efforts for critical care equipment, and information pertaining to the performance capability of an asset can amount to more than $1 million of lost revenue for a hospital, which compromises patient care.

“Four Rivers’ maintenance and repair system, coupled with PanGo’s asset tracking system will give hospitals deeper visibility into their asset pools while alleviating the massive costs and risks linked to workflow redundancies,” says Michael Campbell, president and CEO of PanGo Networks.


FDA Announces Nationwide Recall of Nellcor Puritan Bennett Probes Device
The FDA has announced that Nellcor Puritan Bennett (Tyco Healthcare/Mallinckrodt) is conducting a nationwide recall of all of its CapnoProbes, which are used by hospitals to measure the carbon dioxide in patient tissue.

The CapnoProbe is packaged in a metal canister filled with a saline solution and sealed in a foil envelope labeled as nonsterile. According to Nellcor, the probe and associated saline contain the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia and other opportunistic pathogens that can cause serious infections.

The FDA was first notified about a potential problem with the probes on August 18 by the Texas Department of Health. Positive Burkholderia cepacia cultures were found in 11 patients who were exposed to the probes in the pediatric intensive care units of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. On August 24, Nellcor notified its customers that the company is recalling all lots of the CapnoProbe SLS-1 sublingual sensors and asked hospitals to return any unused inventory. The firm said the probe might pose a hazard to patients with compromised immune systems. Both the FDA and Nellcor Puritan Bennett are continuing their investigations on the contamination of the probes.


Olympus and Axeda Combine System Use
Axeda Systems Inc has announced that the Olympus Diagnostic Systems Division, Life Science Group of Olympus Corp, has licensed the Axeda DRM™ system for use on its AU® Series Chemistry-Immuno Analyzers.

The AU analyzers are designed to provide greater efficiency for the high-productivity demands of laboratories and hospitals. With Axeda DRM, instrument users will benefit from improved device uptime and performance, while Olympus will benefit from real-time access to critical instrument status and reportable information, enabling the company to provide better customer service, faster, and at a lower cost.

The Axeda DRM system is a distributed software system that securely transmits status and usage data via the Internet from remote equipment to service representatives, alerting them if a device is operating outside preset performance standards. Axeda DRM leverages its Firewall-Friendly™ communications technology and existing network security within medical facilities. These and other features enable medical instrument companies to comply with regulations protecting patient information, including 21 CFR Part 11 and HIPAA.


LIFECYCLE to Replace CAMp Asset-Management Program
The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) and Thermo Electron Corp have selected Thermo USCS to replace the capital asset management program (CAMp) offered to consortium members with Thermo’s LIFECYCLE program, as of July 1.

UHC offered CAMp to its members as a way to reduce equipment-maintenance costs through a collective, self-managed program coordinated through UHC and directed to CAMp participants. The program offered technology-management support through the UHC staff and professionals at member institutions.

“Over the years, Thermo USCS has recognized CAMp as a respected asset-management program,” says Deborah Deinstadt, senior vice president of Thermo USCS. “CAMp and our LIFECYCLE program have more similarities than differences, which we believe translates into the smoothest possible transition from CAMp to LIFECYCLE for UHC participating members.”

According to sources from UHC, Thermo USCS is uniquely positioned to bring participating CAMp members a program with minimal changes or interruption. Additionally, Thermo USCS has demonstrated its ability to create a program that matches UHC’s members’ needs. UHC’s current objective is to replace CAMp with a system that will allow participants to continue to receive substantial, measurable, and sustainable savings in the cost of operating equipment.

Thermo USCS consists of more than 180 employees in 16 regional offices located across the country. The company has assisted health care organizations with management and control of the lifecycle cost of equipment since 1979. Thermo’s staff includes specialists in repair management, engineering, invoice review, vendor relations, program development, and equipment consulting.


Colorado Biomeds Celebrate
The Colorado Association of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (CABMET) celebrated Biomed Technicians Week, August 23–28. Two local vendors, Prescott’s and Conmed, opened their doors for an operations and facilities tour. Many shops celebrated by having open houses and/or lunches provided by vendors and their hospital administrations. The CABMET officers had a chance to meet Colorado Gov Bill Owens, who signed the official proclamation of the honor week.

The week ended with the CABMET Symposium, which was kicked off when 50 vendors and biomed technicians played in the fifth annual golf tournament. Afterward, 40 techs were treated to five training classes: Care, Use, and Handling of Endoscopes by IMS; The Science of Biphasic Technology by Zoll; An Introduction to Ultrasound by Sonora; New Anesthesia Technology by Datascope; and IS and Biomed Merging, presented by Neil Stock, longtime CABMET member and clinical engineering director at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Colo.

 From left: Ken Ottenberg; John Jetchick; Frank Nickels, P/SL; Gov Bill Owens; Neil Johnson; CABMET Vice President David Scott; Ken Barnett; CABMET President Tim Keenan.

At the vendor trade show, each technician received a 30-year anniversary CABMET mug. This was followed by a putting contest for the kids and dinner for all technicians and families. There were more than 730 years of biomedical experience in the room. Ten technicians were recognized for passing the AAMI CBET test in May. Thanks to our generous vendors and sponsors, awards, including the kids’ putting contest prize and door prizes for kids and adults, were presented after dinner. In all, 160 people enjoyed a day of celebration, training, golf, and eating.

Contributed by Tim Keenan
President, CABMET


 MD Expo Draws More Than 300
At its booth at MD Expo 2004, the Georgia Biomedical Instrumentation Society displayed a picture of Georgia Gov Sonny Perdue signing a proclamation declaring September 12–18 Georgia Biomedical/Clinical Engineering Recognition Week.

“As medical technology advances, hospitals, treatment centers and other health care facilities must continue to keep pace by providing quality, well-trained personnel capable of understanding the complexity of medical equipment operation and applications,” notes the proclamation.

 GBIS members look on while Georgia Gov Sonny Perdue signs the Biomedical/Clinical Engineering Recognition Week proclamation.

The Georgia Biomedical Instrumentation Society (GBIS) was one of more than 65 vendors displaying and offering its services and information to the more than 300 attendees of the third annual expo for medical equipment sales and service, held September 15–17 at the Marriott’s Evergreen Conference Resort in Stone Mountain Park, Ga. Educational seminars focused on customer relations, planning a biomed career, business management, ASMED introduction, the future of the industry, market trends, and vendor/hospital relations; technical courses covered CBET electronics review, PACS and DICOM, principles of CT and MRI, sterilization choices, ultrasound basics, and more. CEUs also were available.

Attendees had the opportunity to mingle during an opening golf tournament and a lakeside “Havana Night” party.

“Hurricane Ivan tried to dampen the spirit of the expo and almost caused the much-awaited Havana Night party to be canceled. Well, it did not work, and after the lights came back on the festivities went on as planned,” says Dave Wayne, CEO, SE Medical Systems LLC, Jonesboro, Ga.


Display controller Boards Expand Graphics Card Offering
Quest International Inc (Irvine, Calif) now offers the Matrox MED2mp and Matrox RAD2mp display controller boards that support Totoku’s 1.3- and 2-megapixel medical LCD monitors.

The RAD series offer 8-bit solutions for Totoku grayscale and color displays and comes standard with Hardware Pivot, eliminating the need for additional pivot software. The board supports four identical 2-megapixel displays from a single board. It comes equipped with 65 MB of high-speed memory for fast caching and loading.

The MED series features 10-bit capabilities and supports 1.35 megapixel grayscale and color displays and is designed specifically for a PACS environment. The MED series also comes standard with Hardware Pivot.

For more information about the RAD and MED series, contact Quest by phone, (800) 231-6777, or visit the company Web site at www.questinc.com.


Maryland Hospitals Form Crisis Alliance
Three major hospitals in Bethesda, Md, have formed an Emergency Preparedness Partnership to improve and coordinate their responses to disasters.

The hospitals are the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services; Suburban Hospital, a community-owned hospital serving Montgomery County and the surrounding area; and the National Naval Medical Center, part of the Department of Defense. Partnership goals include assuring that each institution can respond rapidly and effectively to any emergency situation; providing streamlined integration of the responses of the three partner institutions with other community, regional, and national emergency plans; and establishing a model for other federal and private sector hospitals to form similar partnerships.

“In this partnership, the ‘whole’ far exceeds what the three institutions could do independently,” says John I. Gallin, MD, NIH Clinical Center director. “Naval Medical Center staff are skilled and trained to respond to all kinds of emergencies, and Suburban Hospital is a level II trauma center. The NIH Clinical Center has physicians who represent almost every medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty.”

Top managers from the partner hospitals have been meeting for several months, and teams have been established to address key issues.