Day: March 2, 2005

Hospira Describes Wireless Plans in Conference Call

From Hospira's transcript of their investor conference call: For 2005, we are still planning to introduce the wireless, networked version of MedNet for Plum A+, as well as wireless MedNet for our PCA, or patient-controlled analgesia, platform. In addition, two weeks ago, we announced a development agreement with Bridge Medical to create a new wireless, point-of-care medication management solution that will link our MedNet software with the Bridge MedPoint barcode-enabled point-of-care system. This is part of our strategy to develop products that can be seamlessly integrated, using an "open architecture" approach, to interface with the majority of hospital information systems. Our work with Cerner was our first partnership in this area, and Bridge represents an additional...

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FCC Delays New Uses for Old Telemetry Frequencies, Again

The FFC has agreed to delay plans to lift power restrictions on Airport Terminal Use (ATU) frequencies operating in the PLMR (Private Land Mobile Radio Services) band based on AHA concerns that relaxing current power limits could lead to harmful interference with wireless medical telemetry equipment.  "We will continue to take steps to protect medical telemetry from interference because it is used to protect the safety of life," the agency said. The FCC in October 2002 proposed lifting the restrictions to improve communications at large airports. But in an order released Jan. 24, the agency said it agreed with the AHA medical telemetry task force's contention that allowing higher-powered ATU frequencies into the 460-470 MHz band would have a "negative impact" on wireless medical equipment operating in the band. The FCC said it will delay lifting the restrictions until Jan. 30, 2006, 30 days after an FCC freeze on high-powered users in the 460-470 MHz band expires. Not mentioned is whether this move delays further adoption of PLMR band by commercial businesses.  Business using PLMR radios for dispatch and service applications are much more likely to impact 460-470 MHz hospital telemetry systems -- few hospitals are built close to airports. Mary Beth Savary Taylor, the AHA's vice president for executive branch relations, ...encouraged hospitals still operating in the 460-470 MHz band to move by the end of the year into...

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Hospital Building Boom — Will You Be Overbuilt?

Hospital capacity:  depending on where you are, and who you ask, there's either too much or not enough.  The current building boom is being driven by factors including a shortage of beds created by consolidation; an aging population; a suburban population boom; and a desire to attract more patients by improving the quality of their stay. In calling for the moratorium, Toussaint ( president of ThedaCare Inc. health care system)  has specifically cited Aurora (Health Care)'s ongoing building program as a reason to put the brakes on construction. In addition to Aurora's plans to build a Waukesha County hospital, Aurora has opened hospitals in Green Bay and Oshkosh, despite concerns from local competitors about too many empty hospital beds in their communities. Grabbing market share, upgrading facilities and adding more private rooms are also behind the boom/moratorium. Rising health care costs prompt some to ask if hospital construction is part of the problem.  Over capacity raises hospital operating costs, but in today's capitated environment it is hard to pass this cost on to payers. The extent to which hospital construction is to blame for the current level of health care spending is not really known.   One Milwaukee-area hospital CEO told The Business Journal that a moratorium now is about five years too late, given the billions of dollars hospitals have spent on capital expansion over the past several years. Major expansions...

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Awarix Patient Management Software at HIMSS 2005

One of the key barriers to overcoming patient flow bottlenecks is the lack of feedback on what patient flow studies have shown are very fragmented activities and resources that surround the patient.  If you can't measure it, how can you manage it?  At the same time, information overload is a growing problem as we move from paper and phone driven processes to automated workflow. To be effective, users need the right information, in context, at the right time. These are goals that all patient management software vendors share.  A new vendor, awarix, has taken a decidedly different approach to meeting them. Awarix was founded in 2003 by a group of industry veterans lead by Gary York.  (His last company Emageon just went public.)  They have built a product using the latest technology (always an advantage for the new guy).  Their design philosophy differs considerably from previous patient flow software efforts.  They have a reference site at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. The design objective for awarix was to create something that provides concise information, in the right context, at the right time.  Additionally it had to be easy to learn and use, quick and easy to deploy, and easy to maintain and support.  These design goals sound common enough, the result however is not.  Typical patient flow software solutions are dependant (sometimes highly dependant) on data entry by nurses,...

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