Author: Tim Gee

Delphi Medical Targets Wireless Patient Monitors

Delphi Medical Introduces Clinical Communication In pursuit of a diversification strategy, Delphi, the auto parts company, created Delphi Medical Systems. Delphi Medical Systems' coming out party was at Medical Design & Manufacturing East (MD&M) in New York City in June, 2004. They’re going after OEM business and indirect distribution sales into alternate care markets. Their target markets are vital signs monitors, IV pumps, respiratory, and dialysis. What caught my eye was their offering of wireless connectivity, asset tracking, and remote monitoring, control and alarms. This is rocket science stuff; only a few bleeding edge start-ups are doing these things. (Radianse, Sensitron, ) Here’s their track record to date: February 2004, while under the radar, signed $80 million contract mfg deal with Sunrise Medical December 2004, acquires medical device mfgr Peak Medical for $44 million (revenue of $72 million) December 2004, licenses vital signs technology from Zoe Medical (worldwide rights to manufacture, market, distribute and sell hospital and alternate site vital signs patient monitors) December 2004, snagged a $35 million mfg contract from Ophthonix for vision-testing equipment January 2005, inked co-development deal with Caretools for PDA-based charting and vital signs monitor/IV pump alarm management and control This most recent news shows Delphi Medical aiming for a mature replacement market (monitors and pumps) with innovative and (so far) unique features. The agreement provides exclusive worldwide rights for Delphi Medical Systems to...

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Tablet-Based Patient Management Solution Provider Secures Funding, Expands Senior Management Team (01/05/05) WiFiMed Inc., provider of a tablet-based solution to collect and manage patient medical information, today announced the closing of a $1 million Series A round of funding, the kick-off of a Series B round, and the appointment of Mark Bloomberg, MD, MBA, as chief medical officer, and Anthony DaSilva as executive vice president of sales and marketing. The funding is supporting the launch of Tablet MD(TM), an integrated, tablet-based solution to manage the physician/patient interaction. Designed to meet physician demands for mobility, affordability, and ease of use, Tablet MD helps manage medical information during the patient visit and improves practice procedures and communications. [BCBS HealthIssues.com] This is a great example of the continued entrepreneur/VC fascination with automating the physician.  Could they pick a tougher market segment?  The situation is marked by a disconnectedness.  Except for places like Kaiser, Mayo, Scott & White, etc., physicians work for themselves, not the hospital.  Consequently hospitals have very limited authority over their physicians with privileges.  Teaching hospital staff are a little more controllable, but not much.  And where are the benefits of automation?  If its a big win for the physician, will physicians pay the cost - not just for the app and hardware, but for the systems integration on the hospital side? And if its a big win for the hospital,...

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Campaign to Save 100,000 Lives

The IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) has announced a campaign to save 100,000 lives, by enrolling hospitals to implement six proven practices to prevent avoidable deaths. #1:  Deploy rapid response teams (RRTs). Problem: Between 0.5 and 0.6 percent of patients suffer a cardiac arrest or shock while hospitalized, and only 17 percent of them survive to discharge. Most patients who arrest have signs beforehand; the potential for survival is higher in settings with monitoring; however, more critically ill patients are being treated outside of critical care units. Recommendation: Institute a rapid response team that anyone can call for any patient when they are concerned that the patient is deteriorating. Case study: Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis had a 28 percent decrease in codes for cardiac arrest after using RRTs and more codes occurred in ICUs. [FCG Healthcare Industry News Summary] The survival rate of inpatients who arrest is a pretty sobering statistic.  And while RRTs may be worth while, the resulting improvement in survivability is nothing to write home about.  It seems that the best approach is to identify those patients before they arrest.  The technology to cost effectively accomplish this is available, and has the side benefit of improving patient flow.  This delivers improved patient outcomes (beyond patients who arrest) and improved financial performance for the...

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Hospira Gains 510k Clearance for Two Wireless Pumps In their November 10, 2004 10-Q SEC filing, Hospira notes that they have received 510k clearance for two products, the wireless networked version of Hospira MedNet for Plum A+ and Hospira MedNet software for their patient-controlled analgesia pumps.  Both are expected to launch in the first quarter of 2005.  I'm expecting wireless products from all three big pump companies by the end of this year.  I'll be investigating this in detail in the coming...

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Future of RFID Tags Evaluated. According to an article in the Cincinnati Business Courier today, the RFID tags tested at Cardinal Health’s warehouses in New York and Boston failed to meet the ‘reads-per-second’ rate that the manufacturer promised. The accuracy of the reads was in the 96% to 98% range. The technology is being used to help combat counterfeit drugs by improving the tracking of drugs. Columbus, Ohio-based Cardinal Health is one of the nation’s largest prescription drug distributors. The company expects RFID systems to yield long-term benefits, but offered that technical problems in the early stages need to be fixed before the technology can be utilized in the drug industry. The FDA wants the technology deployed in the drug supply chain by 2007. [The Medical Informatics Weblog] I'm no fan of barcodes at the bedside.  There are many things that must be done right (orientation and indelible ink, to name two) to ensure that barcodes scan reliably.  Stories abound of nurses having to scan barcodes several times to get a reading, in seemingly optimal situations. And that doesn't include scenarios like cutting the ID band off the patient's wrist and taking it to the reader because the barcode reader's cord is too short. But the above idicates that more than cost may be holding RFID back from broad...

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Computer Entry a Leading Cause of Medication Errors in U.S. Health Systems -- Percentage of Reported Errors Steadily Increased from 1999 to 2003. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) reported today that despite the perception that technology is the panacea that will improve patient safety and reduce medication errors, nearly 20 percent of hospital and health system medication errors reported to USP’s MEDMARX SM program in 2003 involved computerization or automation. However, facilities that have implemented computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) reported fewer harmful errors. According to the 2003 data, automated dispensing devices (ADDs) were implicated in almost 9,000 medication error events with 1.3 percent of those errors leading to patient harm. [The Informatics Review] Just another indication (reinforced repeatedly at <a href="http://histalk.blog-city.com/">HISTALK</a>) that automation is no silver bullet for improving...

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Mayo Clinic Says PDAs with Wi-Fi Safe for Heart Devices. The Mayo Clinic tested PDAs that access WLANs and deem them safe: It's one thing to assume that WLANs don't have an effect on pacemakers and other heart-assisting devices, and another to test that assumption. The Mayo Clinic did limited testing and found no problems. These devices are apparently sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, the report says. [via TechDirt] [Wi-Fi Networking...

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