Atrocity Triggers Rapid Biomed Response
Members of healthcare technology service and support industry acted immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11. It was an instinctive response involving many hospitals, service organizations, manufacturers, and thousands of individuals. In the months to come, their stories will become known. For now, we only a handful of heroic tales have emerged. Here are examples from the Greater New York area.

photoAmbulances from all over the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut line the street in front of Chelsea Piers, where a triage center was set up for victims of the World Trade Center attacks, late Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, in New York.

The closest hospital to the World Trade Center is New York University—Downtown Medical Center. It’s in New York’s Chinatown, a brief walk from the WTC. BMETs Erwin Jonson and Cirilo Campbell had just arrived at work when the first airliner struck around 9 a.m. They would remain at the hospital for the next 60 hours, performing any task demanded of them, including carrying water when the utilities failed, transporting patients, and standing on the street handing out filter masks.

Frank Sharer, area manager of biomed for Premier Clinical Technology Services, and Rick Faulkenberry, the area imaging manager, were driving to Christ Hospital in Jersey City, N.J., a new account which had only opened on Sept. 1. As the two reached Exit 14C on the Bayonne Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike, a point that lies directly across the Hudson River from the Twin Towers, the second airliner struck. Upon reaching the hospital, the Premier staff on site, including extra techs who were assigned there for the start-up period, assisted the hospital and a triage center established in Liberty State Park, as dazed patients arrived from across the river.

Other healthcare tech firms help
It’s impossible to document all of the healthcare technology companies that pitched-in to help victims of September’s criminal acts in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. The outpouring was so rapid and so generous, that many worthy gestures will remain anonymous. Here are a few more we discovered.

Siemens made a variety of equipment available and offered technical and product support to federal agencies on scene. It also created a Web site to advise customers of disaster relief-related services.

GE Medical Systems loaded four trucks and dispatched them to recovery sites. One from Salt Lake City carried GE OEC C-arms and accessories. Another from Waukesha, Wis. carried ultrasound systems, patient monitors, CT parts and a dozen AMX mobile X-ray systems. A truck from Chicago bore IT and PACS equipment. The fourth, from Columbus, Ohio, carried a variety of parts and accessories.

You Gotta Love It!

d01b.jpg (13063 bytes)Images of Migraine
Anyone who’s ever had a migraine headache knows that it’s not a pretty picture … until now.

In February, the National Headache Foundation (NHF) began accepting entries for its second Migraine Masterpieces art contest, entitled “Images of Migraine.” The contest is a call for professional and amateur artists who are diagnosed migraine sufferers to depict their world in hopes of raising awareness of migraine as a disease and bring recognition that the pain and associated symptoms can be relieved.

Images of Migraine culminated in a Chicago exhibition last June during National Headache Awareness Week. Winners were selected by a panel of distinguished judges chosen by the National Headache Foundation.

You can view all of the winners at

imageGetting older means one thing – more medical tests. Waiting and waiting. Not hearing anything. Calling your doctor. Calling the lab. It can make a difficult time even more difficult. And to make matters worse, the language in clinical lab results is often unintelligible to a human (or worm.)

The Web Worm slithered across a great idea at this year’s meeting of the American Clinical Laboratory Association,, a Web site that helps translate the information and cryptic messages contained in your average lab results. Just pick a test, point and click your way to better understanding, and hopefully better health.

imageAccording to organizers, “We are launching this site at a time when healthcare consumers are being asked to assume more responsibility for their care. Knowing more about lab tests and the issues surrounding testing is an important step in this direction.”

The flagellum phlebotomist has heard a lot of talk these days about the Internet providing patients more power to control their own health. Many are bad, but this is a classic example of how to bring power to the people! (Or worm.)

ARAMARK buys ServiceMaster’s management business
Outsourcing giant ARAMARK, based in Philadelphia, announced on Oct. 4 that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire ServiceMaster Management Services, the facility services business that includes clinical engineering management, for $800 million in cash.

“ServiceMaster and its management team are recognized as industry leaders,” said Joseph Neubauer, Chairman and CEO of ARAMARK. “This acquisition will enable us to further strengthen our ‘Unlimited Partnerships’ with an outstanding base of customers in the healthcare, education and business sectors. With ARAMARK’s resources and expertise and ServiceMaster’s experience and quality management team, we will be better positioned to provide broader solutions to all of our customers.”

ServiceMaster Management Services currently has a total managed volume of $1.9 billion and net sales of nearly $1 billion annually. In 1999, the company did about $161 million worth of business managing clinical engineering programs at healthcare facilities. It also provides custodial services, plant operations, grounds-keeping and food services. The business employs 18,000 and manages 69,000 on behalf of 1,450 customers.

Nortel sells Clarify for $200 million
Amdocs will buy Nortel Networks’s Clarify division, which sells field service management software applications, for $200 million cash, according to a joint announcement made on Oct. 2.

Nortel held Clarify for only two years, and obtained the company in a stock deal worth $2.1 million at that time. Troubles at Nortel prompted Wall Street analysts to begin speculating in June that Clarify would be sold, with Siebel Systems, SAP and Oracle Corp. — in addition to Amdocs — among speculated suitors.

Clarify products are in use at a wide variety of service providers, including large medical device manufacturers. St. Louis-based Amdocs’ current product line concentrates on billing and order management software for telecom providers, and that may effect the future direction of Clarify.

PartsCo joins PartsSource
PartsSource of Cleveland completed a merger with PartsCo, Inc. of Willoughby, Ohio, on Sept. 20. PartsCo was best known as a supplier of replacement parts for Picker/Marconi imaging systems.

“We are proud to have the leading medical parts organization of PartsCo, its management team and employees join the growing PartsSource team,” said A. Ray Dalton, President and CEO of PartsSource in a release announcing the deal. “The merger begins our consolidation strategy and continues our commitment to building the nation’s premier medical parts company.”

PartsCo founder Ed Rawley added, “We have been growing at a steady rate since starting PartsCo and are confident that we are the highest quality medical parts supplier in the country. Now with PartsSource, we can take our services to the next level.”

Flukes and Hogs Together
Fluke Corporation, the Everett, Wash. manufacturer of compact electronic test tools and software, is giving away a Harley-Davidson in its latest promotion.

The sweepstakes runs through March 31, 2002. To enter, just test one Fluke product through its distributors, or online at The drawing is April 12, 2002.

MedAssets gets Premier nod
Premier Inc. (San Diego) awarded MedAssets Exchange Inc. (Wood Dale, Ill.) a three-year contract to provide diagostic imaging equipment to the group purchasing organization’s 1,800 members.

The agreement covers mobile interim services for cardiac cath labs, CT and MRI, and remanufactured diagnostic imaging systems, including angiography, CT and MRI.

Telem group gets highest FDA honor
The Wireless Medical Telemetry Task Group, which was assembled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health and helped to create dedicated radio bands for patient monitoring use, was invited to the FDA Honor Awards back on May 4 of this year and received the agency’s highest honor, the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the public interest related to activities of the FDA. The task force was specifically applauded, “For exceptional initiative and leadership to protect the public health from electomagnetic interference with wireless medical telemetry.”

The group was formed after a Dallas interference incident that occurred in 1998. A unique coalition of regulators, healthcare facilities, clinicians and device manufacturers, its action spurred the historic decision by the Federal Communications Commission to set aside frequencies, called the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service, for patient monitoring use.

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