Hospira Acquires Sculptor

Today Hospira announced they have acquired Sculptor Developmental Technologies (press release). A subsidiary of St. Clair Health Corporation, Sculptor was a software engineering company formed by St. Clair Hospital in 1993 to create solutions that St. Clair couldn’t buy from vendors. Sculptor’s solutions include a barcode meds administration system, an enterprise report print management application, advanced printing for Eclipsys, fax distribution software and similar tools. Sculptor has an installed base of more than 125 hospitals in North America. The deal includes St. Clair Hospital serving as a development and test site for Hospira medication management products.

Obligatory chest thumping:

“This acquisition brings together two leaders in healthcare IT — Hospira has led the industry in barcoding medications and infusion technology; and St. Clair, through Sculptor, was the first hospital in the country to combine barcoding and RFID in a single mobile device for the real-time workflow needs of clinical staff,” said Richard Schaeffer, vice president and chief information officer, St. Clair Hospital.

Note the emphasis on workflow. Given the greater experience of Sculptor, this may end up being a better acquisition for Hospira than CareFusion was for Cardinal.

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HIMSS 06 Wrap Up


Yesterday I was asked for some quick impressions of this year’s HIMSS. Now that I’ve had a bit of time to digest the event, here’s what I came up with. First, this show was much more of a business development/business alliance oriented show. Many vendors were openly partnering and had products in each other’s booths, brought together by their efforts to bring to market broader solutions that meet market requirements. These alliances frequently revolved around connectivity.

  • First Vocera came to market (a few years ago) on the strength of a health care targeted wireless communicator, and has done well. This year Ascom was the first established phone company to take that step with an almost full blown point of care system integrating wireless phones with nurse call, medical devices and more. Ascom now represents a competitor to both Emergin and their wireless phone competitors.
  • Two new wireless patient monitors were introduced at HIMSS using 802.11b (the GE Dash and Spacelabs SL2400). The adoption of ISM/Wi-Fi over WMTS for wireless patient monitoring is significant, and reinforces the trend away from that proprietary narrow band.
  • GE showed near real time fetal monitor surveillance (AirStrip OB) on smart phones – with a 510(k), no less! (check this photo)
  • PDAs and tablets lost much of their cache this year – there were lots of laptops and integrated computers on COWs (computers on wheels), AirStrip OB on smart phones, and while not an exhibitor, there was buzz about the OQO handheld computer. (check this photo)
  • Welch Allyn was the first major vital signs monitor vendor to release a wireless vital signs monitor for data integration into EMRs (the new Spot) – a couple years behind Stinger Medical. Also of note, Welch Allyn licensed Wellogic’s server software for their wireless vital signs monitor. Clinical servers are neither rocket science nor a trivial effort, what with role based access support, CCOW, RADIUS/LDAP integration, HL7, remote access (i.e., a web server), data storage and high availability. So far, not a single medical device vendor has launched a decent server – until now.
  • Integration middleware vendor Emergin was in over a dozen booths – most of the smart pump vendors, patient monitoring, nurse call and wireless phone vendors, and a few HIT vendors.
  • This was also a year for refining product strategies for patient flow application vendors – in particular, StatCom and Awarix have moved beyond (and in different directions from) bed management to help out more broadly with hospital care delivery.
  • On the imaging front, this was (if not the first) the largest presence of cardiovascular information systems (CVIS) shown at HIMSS. Agfa/Heartlab, Witt Biomedical, McKesson/Medcon, ScImage were all there – and maybe a couple I missed.
  • All the smart pump vendors (Cardinal/Alaris, Hospira, Baxter, B Braun) showed progress in moving past the first generation of wireless features.
  • RFID was hot hot hot at HIMSS this year. In apparent agreement with my post that RFID is not a product, many RFID vendors introduced software applications – mostly basic patient flow apps. RFID also presents an interesting issue for device vendors – for the slackers who don’t embed a Wi-Fi radio into their device, should they embed some kind of tag technology?
  • Finally on a related topic, wireless network infrastructure also got some buzz. GE formally introduced their deal with MobileAccess, InnerWireless repositioned themselves at the show (rolling out their RFID solution and dropping the “leaky coax” part of their solution), and lots of wireless LAN vendors – Cisco, Aruba, Trapeze, Symbol and Meru.

Whew. Pictured above right are two of the Godfathers of Connectivity: Arnaud Houette of Capsule Technologie, and Brian McAlpine with Emergin.

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Hospira Wireless Pump

Hospira launched their “smart pump,” made up of wireless pump, patient safety app, and associated server, 18 months ago. Like all the other smart pumps, the customer’s formulary is stored in the pump.  The MedNet application suite is scheduled to release mid year.  Integration with Cerner is expected to release several weeks before a Bridge Medical interface.  Hopira refers to these vendors as BPOCs, Bedside Point Of Care vendors.

Patient ID and associated medication orders are controlled by the BPOC. The user scans barcodes for the patient, pump, med and user, and then pump settings for the ordered med are pushed into the pump.  The barcode scanner is connected to the BPOC via whatever client device is used by the BPOC.  I would imagine Cerner uses a PDA with built in scanner, but a COW (computer on wheels) or tablet could be used.

Interestingly, patient context is never established in the pump.  All the heavy lifting is done by the BPOC.  What Hospira has developed is the wireless connectivity, formulary management app, server, QA database of anonymous data, and integration with the BPOC.

Patient safety features include checking pump settings against the formulary, ensuring the right drug is administered to the right patient (via all that barcode scanning), and that pump delivery settings accurately reflect the order. There is no alarm notification beyond local alarms on the pump itself.

Their WLAN link is 802.11 b, using an Alaris developed component radio.

See Hospira’s investor presentation that covers wireless here.  You can read their MedNet fact sheet here.

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