Handshakes and customer service: The stuff of HealthTech 2002; Siemens’ Uptime center ‘grows up’

Keynote speakers inspire and galvanize …
Handshakes and customer service: the stuff of HealthTech 2002
Two very different, but dynamic, keynote speakers kicked off Monday’s and Tuesday’s events at HealthTech 2002, held at the Baltimore (Md.) Convention Center, April 21-23.

 Monday: Diane Darling
Diane Darling, president of Effective Networking Inc. (Boston, Mass.) grabbed everyone’s attention Monday morning with “Turbo Networking for a Successful Conference.”

Effective networking means giving and getting, with parties reaping mutual benefit. The idea behind networking is to build relationships before you need them, she explained. Her goal for the morning: To make everyone competent at networking, not to make everyone like it!

 That said, Darling launched into a 14-step turbo-charged presentation, “How to Work a Room” — which begins before a person arrives at an event and ends only after he or she has followed-up from home or work. She also made a point of demonstrating the correct handshake — and encouraged audience members to try it among themselves.

 Tuesday: James Lussier
James Lussier, president and CEO of Cascade Health Services, which operates St. Charles Medical Center (Bend, Ore.), on Tuesday tackled a comprehensive topic: the fact that healthcare organizations must learn to be more responsive to patients who are more sophisticated and more demanding when it comes to their health. Technological advances and quality programs will help in that regard, he said; however, communication, collaboration, vision and leadership involving people at every level of healthcare are the keys to creativity, innovation and mission in the 21st century.

Hospitals too often are “fix-it shops” that require heart-attack victims to get themselves to the hospital, then “disempower” them when they get there by taking their identity and their clothes and issuing them a number, he began. Hospitals, however, have an opportunity to be leadership organizations that help educate people on ways to prevent a heart attack or practice good health habits, he said.

“We were surprised that no one wanted to have a heart attack,” when his hospital opened a brand-new open-heart surgical unit,” he offered as an example. Meanwhile, people in the community were clamoring for programs that would help them prevent heart disease, but the hospital wasn’t addressing heart-health from that angle.

Tune in to the June issue for more on HealthTech 2002! Look for photos of award winners and other conference happenings, and read about the latest new products and services for the healthcare technology management industry displayed on the exhibit floor!

Annals of Improbable Research

 The Web Worm likes to keep a sense of humor about all things. Life, love, work and even science all have a laughable side to them if you know where to look. And when it comes to the comical side of science there is only one place to look.

The Annals of Improbable Research offers the savvy surfer a unique look into the world of scientific research by publishing quirky and downright hysterical scientific papers from around the globe, and the Annals’ Web site offers much of the same. The squiggly science slimer was chuckling upon reading the page on “Adult Human Male Reactions to Boxing Felines.” (Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.) Or there was the page dedicated to The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists that had the wriggly researcher longing for a Michael Bolton mullet.

 The FreshAIR section provides new material twice a week. A recent visit uncovered a review of something called the “Dung Conference” as well as a new paper titled “The Effect of Television on Sexual Behavior” by a Marist College researcher. But for the results of that paper, the Worm recommends reading it yourself — or conducting your own experiments.

Annals of Improbable Research

You’ve Gotta Love It!

 World Juggling Day
Well, summer is rapidly approaching here in the Northeast and you know what that means. Sure, warmer temperatures and longer days are nice, but we here at 24×7 really count the days until the World Juggling Day comes around every June 15 (it’s a holiday here in the Providence office, so don’t bother calling to wish us a merry Juggling Day).

For those who don’t know how to celebrate the day, the International Juggling Association has some words of advice on its Web site: “We hope jugglers everywhere will get together in groups big or small to celebrate the joy of juggling.”

And June, of course, leads nicely into July every year (in case you hadn’t heard) and July means only one thing — the International Juggling Association’s summer festival, being held this year in Reading, Pa. July 15-20. As of this writing, the tentative schedule of events at this year’s festival includes joggling competitions (that’s juggling while running), the numbers championships (juggling the most balls, clubs or rings for the longest time) and the Waldo and Woodhead show (don’t worry — we have no clue, either).

So be sure to wish friends and loved ones a Merry Juggling Day on June 15. And just in case you think we’re making this up, check out www.juggle.org   — preferably when the knives are out for sharpening.

 Siemens’ Uptime Center ‘Grows Up’
Siemens Medical Solutions USA (Iselin, N.J.) “cut the ribbon,” so to speak, on its newly expanded Uptime Service Center during grand opening ceremonies held at the center in Cary, N.C., on April 3.

The new three-story, 65,600-square-foot facility, with adjacent 125-car parking garage, literally grew out of the original building with the addition of two floors to the existing one-story, 20,000-square-foot facility built in 1996. The new center can accommodate 350 to 400 employees, as compared with the original center built for 123 occupants but crowded with 180 employees by the time construction got under way late last year.

Tom McCausland, Siemens’ president and CEO, and Prashant Ranade, Siemens’ national service organization vice president, greeted invited guests and local dignitaries to the Uptime grand opening.

Bankruptcy Court OKs Comdisco Divestitures
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 18 approved two proposals from Comdisco Inc. (Rosemont, Ill.) to sell more of its assets, as the company restructures to rebound from self-proclaimed bankruptcy.

The court also granted the healthcare and technology company’s request for an extension to file its reorganization plan and solicit approvals for that proposal. The so-called exclusive period has been extended to July 31. This court decision is Comdisco’s second filing extension. The company previously had deadlines of April 18 and June 15.

Comdisco said it requested the extension to continue discussions with its creditors and equity committees to reach a consensual agreement on its proposed reorganization plan. The company added that it will meet an April 30 deadline to file its reorganization plan and be ready for its May 31 hearing on its disclosure statement.

Toshiba drawn to MAGNET
Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (Tustin, Calif.) has been chosen by Mid-Atlantic Group Network of Shared Service Inc. (MAGNET of Mechanicsburg, Pa.) to supply medical imaging equipment to the not-for-profit group purchasing organization (GPO). The three-year agreement will include CT, general X-ray, MRI, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and vascular X-ray technologies. The pact also allows MAGNET members access to Toshiba’s Healthcare Technology Solutions multivendor service and asset management.

Philips Medical Systems International B.V. completed its acquisition of Richardson Electronics Ltd. (LaFox, Ill.) in late February. The completed sale follows an announcement in mid-January that the two companies had signed a letter of intent for Philips to purchase that part of Richardson’s business dealing with the reloading and distribution of X-ray, CT and image intensifier tubes.

Philips will incorporate the Richardson Electronics/TubeMaster glassware business into its Dunlee division, headquartered in Aurora, Ill.

As a result of the acquisition, Dunlee will operate three separate, but interrelated facilities.

The company’s primary manufacturing facility for CT and X-ray tubes, in Aurora since 1994, will continue as its largest manufacturing operation.

Medserve Achieves second ISO Registration
MedServe International Inc., an endoscope and surgical instrument repair company headquartered in Beltsville, Md., recently received its second consecutive ISO 9001:1994 registration.

The Quality Management System registration applies to the design, manufacture, reverse engineering and repair of medical instruments and component parts, including rigid, flexible and semirigid endoscopes and instruments.

The company received its original ISO 9001 registration in April 1999.

Baxter Planning Systems Inc. (Austin, Texas), developer of supply chain planning services and applications for service parts organizations, in April was awarded two new contracts.

UPS Logistics Group, located in Atlanta, and Silicon Graphics Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., selected the Prophet by Baxter integrated suite of applications as their parts-planning software.

Prophet by Baxter will allow UPS Logistics to calculate inventory levels, determine optimal location and to anticipate demand. The software fully integrates with the UPS Logistics Group’s technology platform, a system that allows customers to see when and where inventory is moving through the UPS Logistics network. The new service will supplement UPS Logistics’ current network and site planning service that advises clients on appropriate transportation modes, location of distribution centers and inventory, and utilization of supply chain technology for more efficient operations.

Siemens Medical to Move Offices to Malvern, Pa.

Siemens Medical Solutions Inc. (Iselin, N.J.) in April unveiled plans to relocate its U.S. headquarters to Malvern, the current Pennsylvania headquarters of Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services Corp.

The company expects the relocation to be completed by the end of 2003.

In the announcement, Tom McCausland, president and CEO of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, said the move to consolidate to one location helps Siemens “more effectively present one face to the customer and utilize our combined strengths. I believe this move will ensure the future growth and success of our organization.”

Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services is the Siemens information technology (IT) business segment and the former Shared Medical Systems Corp., which Siemens acquired for $2.1 billion in July 2000.

Sign up for service parts management training
Patton Consultants (Hilton Head, S.C.) will hold its Service Parts Management training course, Monday through Wednesday afternoon, June 10-12, at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Grapevine, Texas, situated near the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

The workshop is limited to 30 participants, so early registration is advised. Price is $1,595 per person, and includes a copy of the Service Parts Handbook, signed by Joe Patton. Lunch, on site, is also included.

Classes get under way at 8 a.m., Monday, and continue through Wednesday afternoon, with Patton and Roy Steele, company vice president, as program presenters. Special arrangements will be available for those whose travel schedules require them to leave early on Wednesday, Patton said.

Electrical power protection manufacturer Controlled Power Company (Troy, Mich.) announces a new medical market Web page, www.controlledpwr.com/ medical. 

The new page is designed to introduce prospective customers to various Controlled Power products that may be appropriate for customers’ particular modalities and applications, including MRI, CT, PACS (picture archiving and communication system), general X-ray and more.

Huestis Medical (Bristol, R.I.) in April appointed Steve Walsh as vice president and general manager for remanufactured diagnostic imaging systems. Walsh assumes full sales and remanufacturing responsibilities for the company’s Huestis ARI facility in Taunton, Mass., and for the Huestis Pro-tronics plant, located in Chicago.

Walsh most recently served as the company’s vice president of sales. He had headed up Huestis ARI sales since it was first acquired by Huestis Medical in 1994.

Rechargeable battery manufacturer Alexander Technologies (Mason City, Iowa) last month hooked up with JBRO Batteries Inc. (Lisle, Ill.) to create Lexstar Technologies Inc.

John J. Casey, Alexander chairman and CEO, will serve as chairman and CEO of the new company, which will be headquartered in Lisle. W. T. Ylvisaker, JBRO chairman and CEO, will be chairman of Lexstar’s Executive Committee. W. R. Hennig is Lexstar’s new president and COO.

Planar Systems Completes Buy of Dome Imaging
Planar Systems Inc. (Beaverton, Ore.) on April 23 completed its acquisition of Dome Imaging Systems Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) in a transaction worth $61 million.

The deal brings together Planar’s flat-panel display products for the healthcare informatics market and Dome’s high performance display systems for healthcare applications, primarily radiology. Dome helps Planar expand its product portfolio and enter a new market segment. Planar adds worldwide distribution and marketing capabilities, the scale of which Dome lacked.

“We believe the digital radiology market has tremendous growth potential driven by the replacement of CRT [monitors] with flat-panel LCD [display systems] and the migration of medical images from film to filmless,” said Planar President and CEO Balaji Krishnamurthy. “This market complements the healthcare informatics market.

Medrad and Gore, Together Again
Medrad Inc. (Indianola, Pa.) has inked a two-year agreement with W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. (Flagstaff, Ariz.), naming Gore as the exclusive worldwide distributor of Medrad’s Cardiovascular Array surface coil. The MR coil combines a dedicated cardiac coil and a dedicated abdominal coil in a single device. Medrad plans to launch the Cardiovascular Array in the United States in July and rollout the system worldwide over the next year.

H. Mark Gibson’s name was misspelled in a March Browser story that put to rest the rumor of a possible delay in the implementation of the Federal Communications Commission’s dedicated Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS) band. Gibson is with Comsearch of Auburn, Va., the firm selected by the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) as the technical partner to perform frequency coordination services in the new WMTS.

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