Spacelabs seems to be doing pretty well.
The Healthcare Group reported revenues of $47.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2005, compared to $8.6 million reported for the third quarter of fiscal 2004. For the nine months ended March 31, 2005, revenues increased by $129.3 million, to $144.6 million from $15.3 million for the comparable period of fiscal 2004. Revenue growth was primarily due to the March 2004 acquisition of Spacelabs Medical.
Income from operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2005 was $691,000, after Spacelabs-related amortization and retention expenses of $637,000. For the nine months ended March 31, 2005, income from operations was $5.8 million, after Spacelabs-related amortization and retention expenses of $2.4 million.
OSI also Blease Medical Holdings, a U.K.manufacturer of anesthesia systems, vaporizors and ventilators. This should round out Spacelabs offering nicely.Read More
While doing some research the other day I came across a pretty good article from last year. “Rx for patching mired in red tape”
digs into problems surrounding medical devices that get infected by
computer viruses and worms. The story raises lots of interesting
issues. so let's dig in.
The epidemic of Windows-based worms and viruses in the past year has
put hospital IT administrators on a state of high alert to protect
patient-care systems that have become reliant on Microsoft operating
First, I know this problem didn't start in the past year. The trend
to move embedded devices to Windows has certainly increased the impact
of maliscous software. And of course, Microsoft makes such an
attractive target for hackers because of its near defacto status on
personal computers. What struck me when I first read this was, “where
are the biomedical engineers?” The vast majority of medical device type
systems are under the care and feeding of the Biomed department, not IT.
The challenge they face in securihg these medical systems is that
it's not simply a matter of applying software patches. Healthcare IT
professionals say medical device makers prohibit them from changing the
system and even from running anti-virus software in some cases. These
IT administrators say manuractures often are slow to supply software
patch updates and routinely claim the… FDA requires approval of
It is federal law and not medical device vendors who keep
customers from modifying FDA regulated medical devices. Should a
hospital make a change that resulted in an adverse event, the hospital
will assume all the risk associated with that modification. The lack of
vendor responsiveness is a whole other issue.
Device vendors come from a traditional where embedded
devices were like black boxes — they were standalone (with RS232
serial output at best) and interactivity was limited to the buttons and
knobs on the outside of the box. Everything that happened inside the
box coiuld not be known by the user. In the good old days, engineers
even wrote the operating system for their medical devices. As the
market advanced, customers demanded connectivity beyond serial output.
However, the FDA says it has no such rules and is looking for medical device makers and customers to work out their differences.
Demand for ever more ICU beds continues to grow in all western countries. The level of demand is independent of the actual density of ICU beds in a given country. Demand is the same in low density countries like Great Brittan, Australia and Canada, as it is in high density countries (US, Germany, Austria). The question here is that if demand were driven by an objective clinical need, demand would be higher in low density countries and lower in high density countries. The study found that demand is usually based on the existing style of practice within their countries, resulting in over utilization. Researchers also found that:
Innovative planners apply an “appropriateness of ICU-use” approach with analysing the actual utilisation by interpreting scores (especially TISS) and by identifying “low-risk” groups and propose a more flexible organisation of ICUs and a higher proportion of (intermediate care unit) IMCU-beds.
Reducing treatment variations plus better (and enforced) admission and discharge guidelines were found to more accurately gage need when evaluating and planning ICUs. This is consistent with recent studies that show ICUs have an inappropriate admissions rate of around a 20%,Read More
The HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (whew!) issued a call last week for the adoption of a standard for interoperability. Their rational is that it will result in more faster market adoption of their products. Hmmm, who's on those committees coming up with these standards? Mostly members of the EHRVA.Read More
Here is an interesting presentation by Mark Blatt MD on EMI in hospitals. Mark runs Intel's health care business. Bottom line: cell phones within 1 meter of medical devices cause interference 4% of the time, 802.11 radios show no interference as close as 10 cm.Read More