Oximax

Criticare announces the
licensing of technology to Nellcore in this press
release
. Sadly there's no mention of just exactly what technology was licensed -- what better excuse could there be for some wild
speculation?

Both Nellcor
and Masimo have had SpO2 patient monitors and central stations for some time.
With JCAHO's 2003 National Patient Safety Goal #6 on clinical alarm systems
(recently
reduced in scope
) and continued interest in effective
pain management
, hospitals have had a need to improve both
surveillance and alarm notification.

Nellcor
has had a central station product for some time. Their
solution is wired and wireless, but the wireless radio used is 802.11
FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) that has been discontinued by
manufacturers. They have a central station and two nurse-carried
solutions, a PDA and pager. I haven't looked at their 510k, so I don't
know if the PDA provides primary alarm notification, but the pager
does not. Masimo did a deal last year with Welch Allyn that resulted in
the AACN/NTI roll-out of the Micropaq ECG and SpO2 wireless patient
monitor and Acuity central station as a rebranded Masimo central
station solution (RadNet). Presently, Masimo seems to have the upper
hand,
with a ruggedized device that includes ECG in addition to SpO2 at a
price competitive with Nellcor's SpO2 only system.

So finally the speculation: both Nellcor and Masimo are looking to
improve their dedicated SpO2 monitoring systems. Both systems are in
need of some serious updating in the areas of wireless radios, nurse
carried alarm notification and systems integration (not to mention
foundational system architecture). The requirement that will be the
biggest challenge for vendors will be the last, systems integration.

Systems
integration here refers to the ability to integrate alarm notification
from different devices and vendors; users don't want multiple central
stations or multiple nurse-carried alarm notification devices for SpO2,
ECG, infusion pumps, and vents. Now if Criticare would only share with
us what they've licensed.