Instrumentarium closes on Spacelabs Medical
Instrumentarium Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) on July 4 closed on its acquisition of Spacelabs Medical Inc. (Redmond, Wash.), paying $14.25 in cash per share to Spacelabs’ stockholders. Total value of the transaction was approximately $140 million.

The two companies had clear sailing through the regulatory process and in receiving shareholder approvals since announcing plans in March.

Instrumentarium will continue to operate its new critical care patient monitor business as the Spacelabs Medical division and will continue to serve customers directly through its existing U.S. sales channel. On the international side, Spacelabs Medical will collaborate with Instrumentarium’s Datex-Ohmeda business and its sales companies.

In 2001, Spacelabs’ sales of critical care patient monitoring products in the United States reached approximately $140 million and approximately $50 million internationally. Instrumentarium estimates that Spacelabs Medical will more than triple Instrumentarium’s sales to critical care customers in the United States.

Spacelabs Medical awards 5 BMET scholarships
Spacelabs Medical Inc. (Redmond, Wash.) has selected five students as recipients of the 2002 Spacelabs Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET) scholarships. The awards, each in the amount of $1,000, recognize and encourage outstanding achievement from promising biomedical technicians.
All five students are in their first year of a biomedical engineering education and demonstrated a combination of technical aptitude, academic achievement, financial need and commitment to the biomedical engineering profession.

Winners are: Phillip Anderson and Todd Walker, both of whom attend Spokane (Wash.) Community College; Torissa Bethke, Texas State Technical College in Waco; Jeffrey D’Amico, Pennsylvania State University in Upper Burrel; and Matthew Gallardo, St. Phillips’s College (San Antonio, Texas).


 AFSMI Minuteman, Boston ASP attend joint ‘social’
In an attempt to collaborate on a professional basis and enjoy each other’s company on an informal basis, members of the Association for Service Management International (AFSMI), Minuteman Chapter, and the Boston Chapter of the Association of Support Professionals (ASP) gathered for a June “social” at the Massachusetts home of Minuteman Chapter president, Fred Van Bennekom.

About 25 people attended the outdoor event, about half of what had been expected — the result of heavy rains throughout the day, Van Bennekom says. Despite the smaller crowd, the guests enjoyed food and refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere, and the gathering achieved its purpose: to bring the groups together in an informal setting and get them talking to one another. For while AFSMI members provide after-sales support for customers’ hardware issues and ASP members offer support for customers’ software issues, both groups are in the business of customer support.

“The basic fundamental business task is the same: You’re supporting customers,” Van Bennekom says. “The actual requirement to support customers who use software versus hardware do differ to some extent, but in both situations you probably have call centers as the first line of contact, you have all the people issues of managing the call centers, you have all those issues in common. You have knowledge, management and retention issues, application issues, technology issues. My goal was to have an informal get-together and get people interested in participating in future events, maybe even being an officer in one of the chapters.


Smoked Spam

One of the major drawbacks to being an accomplished Web Worm is the amount of spam and hoaxes that come with such a distinction. It seems to the mouse-clicking Crawler that for every legitimate e-mail, there are two pieces of fat greasy spam waiting in the inbox, some of which are just annoying, others of which turn into hard-drive hell. It’s enough to make Our Hero wish there was some help from Uncle Sam in weeding out the useless hoaxes from the useful warnings.

 It was with great relief that the Slithering Spam Slayer discovered Hoaxbusters, a service of the Computer Incident Advisory Committee (CIAC) within the Energy Department that identifies and describes an updated list of online hoaxes and virus scams. The site includes information on identifying hoaxes, recommendations on what to do about them and even a history on some of them.

For example, one of the hoaxes detailed on the site is titled “How to Give a Cat a Colonic,” which turns your hard drive to kitty litter when opened.

Another is a chain letter hoax that comes under the guise of a letter from Bill Gates himself. Thankfully it is not labeled “How to give Bill Gates a colonic” because the visual on that is simply too much for anyone to bear.

HoaxBusters
http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org


d01c.jpg (7583 bytes)
Have you ever looked around at your co-workers in the hospital and wondered who would be the best act at an open-mike night? Maybe one of the nurses can play the violin? Maybe there’s a biomed who can juggle chainsaws (can’t they all?). And maybe the respiratory therapy crew is expert at writing clever song lyrics about their RT days in the hospital.

 Well our money is on the RTs after hearing about David Howard and Gregory Wray out in Michigan. The two therapists teamed up to pen some interesting and amusing song parodies and even some pretty good original pieces all posted online at www.rtlyrics.com. What biomed could not relate to the HR (Human Resources) Blues, which sings, “My CTO (compensating time off) bank ain’t even got a day … And so I’m takin’ my time off without pay … My boss he tells me there’s nothing he can do … But he’s given me the HR blues.” Amen to that!

For us here at 24×7, the song dedicated to a departing co-worker strikes a special chord, so we were partial to the tribute to a retiring co-worker moving to Florida to work at Disney World that goes a little something like this,

“No more 12-hour shifts. / No more breathing Dow air. / No more being called STAT. / No more wheezing to hear.”


 3 States Declare Biomed Week
The governors of Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina have selected Aug. 4-10 as the week to honor the men and women in healthcare technology service and support.

In Tennessee, Gov. Don Sundquist put his signature to the following proclamation and encouraged “all citizens to join me in this worthy observance.”

“Whereas, biomedical electronics equipment technicians inspect, maintain, repair, calibrate and modify electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment and instruments used in therapy, diagnosis and research; and

Whereas, biomedical electronics equipment technicians contribute to quality health care delivery by educating their colleagues in the latest medical technology and equipment; and

Whereas biomedical electronics technicians in Tennessee are committed to promoting research in clinical equipment design and use and to fostering public understanding of patient care; and

Whereas, the integral role of Tennessee biomedical electronics equipment technicians in health care delivery benefits every citizen of the Volunteer State,

Now, therefore, I do hereby proclaim the week of Aug. 4-10 ‘Biomedical Electronics Equipment Technician Awareness Week.’ ”

Florida’s pronouncement mirrors that of Tennessee in name and detail.

Gov. Michael Easley of North Carolina also signed a similar decree.


Horizon Medical, DigiRay merge into one ISO
Independent service organizations (ISOs) Horizon Medical Services Ltd. (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) and DigiRay Inc. (Etobicoke, Ontario) have merged into one company.

Terms of the merger were not disclosed, but the companies say the integration will make the new entity the largest ISO in Canada.

Horizon Medical specializes in CT, bone densitometry and medical imaging equipment service across Canada.

DigiRay, while also dealing in medical imaging equipment service, offers sales of new and refurbished medical imaging equipment.

The management of both companies will be integrated, with no immediate effect on the new infrastructure.


McKesson brings A.L.I. Technologies into the fold for $340 million
McKesson Corp. (San Francisco) wrapped up its $340 million acquisition of A.L.I. Technologies Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) on July 5, as the company completed its purchase of approximately 11.7 million shares of ALI common stock.

The total represents approximately 98 percent of ALI common shares. McKesson paid Cdn$43.50 cash per share. By acquiring more than 90 percent of ALI’s outstanding shares, McKesson can exercise its right to purchase any ALI shares not tendered in the transaction.

McKesson announced plans to acquire ALI back on May 1.

ALI will become part of McKesson’s Information Solutions division and be known as the Medical Imaging Group. ALI’s product line will be called Horizon Medical Imaging and will expand McKesson’s Horizon Clinicals suite to include medical images.


USCS links up with AHA, Precision Endoscopy
USCS Equipment Technology Solutions (USCS of Brookfield, Wis.) recently made its Lifecycle equipment asset management program available to hospitals nationwide as a result of an agreement with AHA Financial Solutions Inc. (AHA-AFI), a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA of Washington, D.C.).

Also, USCS has hooked up with Precision Endoscopy of America (PEA of Hunt Valley, Md.) to offer USCS clients an additional option for repairs to endoscopes.

A release from the AHA said it chose USCS because of the company’s experience, stability, dedicated health care staff and objectivity. AHA-AFI functions as a resource agency to AHA-member hospitals and other healthcare organizations.


d01f.jpg (8753 bytes)Court hands Karl Storz Win Over 3rd-party Repairs
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently sided with Karl Storz Endoscopy-America (Culver City, Calif.) in the company’s ongoing legal battle to protect its brand identity in situations involving third-party repairers.

In reversing the decision of a lower court, the appeals court agreed with counsel for Karl Storz that U.S. trademark laws apply to the practice of third parties that make extensive repairs and rebuilds of Karl Storz’s endoscopes for hospitals without removing the Karl Storz trademark or labeling the product in such a way as to reflect that it is no longer a genuine Karl Storz endoscope. According to a company statement, attorneys for Karl Storz convinced the 9th Circuit that, by leaving the Karl Storz trademark intact and with no other indication that the repaired or rebuilt product was no longer genuine, third-party repair shops were engaged in a “use in commerce” of the Karl Storz trademarks that could be redressed and regulated by the trademark laws upon a finding that a “likelihood of confusion” resulted from this practice.

The court unanimously decreed that Karl Storz was entitled to a trial to determine if defendants Surgical Technologies, a third-party repair service, and Pacific Medical Repair, a broker, violated the U.S. federal trademark laws by their repair and remanufacturing activities.


Premier to sell Clinical Technology Services to Aramark
Premier Inc. (San Diego) on July 24 announced the sale of its Clinical Technology Services (CTS) business to Aramark (Philadelphia).

Initial information from Premier provided no details of the sale but indicated that Aramark will continue to provide technology management and equipment maintenance and repair services to existing Premier customers.

Premier’s CTS employees will become Aramark employees upon the deal’s closing, the statement said.


Zoll Adds Distributors; Funds AED Instruction
Zoll Medical Corp. (Burlington, Mass.) has reached agreement with approximately 60 specialty and regional distributors for the marketing of its new automated external defibrillator (AED), the Zoll AED Plus.

At about the same time, the company provided an unrestricted educational grant to establish a new AED Instructor Foundation.

The agreements call for new distributors and manufacturers’ representatives to target businesses and industries nationwide with the Zoll AED Plus, as well as recreational facilities, airlines, health clubs, schools, and corporate and industrial settings. Designed specifically for the people most likely to be the first on the scene, the AED Plus features a combination of step-by-step illustrations and audio coaching to help rescuers through the life-saving process.

“We now have solid representation in market segments ranging from private medical practices to health clubs, airports and industrial facilities,” Rick Packer, Zoll’s president, said in a statement. “Multiple distribution channels will enable Zoll to have an immediate impact in many diverse markets and bring this important new device into the community, where it can save lives.”


ECRI receives epc renewal for 5-year term
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has renewed ECRI’s designation as an Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) for a second, five-year term.

The AHRQ is the lead federal agency for improving the quality, appropriateness and effectiveness of healthcare services and access to such services.


ECRI revamps Web sites, embraces e-mail for alerts
ECRI’s medical device alert program has gone high-tech: The Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based research agency recently revamped the Web sites for its Health Devices System and Selectplus services. It also began e-mailing its Health Devices Alert Action items to subscribers of those services.

According to Jim Keller, director of the ECRI Health Devices Group, the updated Web sites, which now offer subscribers access to Health Devices Alert publications online in several formats, are easier to reach and research. The even newer e-mail alert service, which began this summer, was designed to more quickly alert individuals and hospitals to issues affecting health and patient safety, he said. It also frees departments, such as biomedical engineering or risk management, from the responsibility of getting the word out to other various individuals and departments.

“We want to get the information out quicker. Historically, that alerting program has been a paper-based product with a suggested routing list on the bottom of each of the printed Health Devices Alert Action item publications,” he said. “Now we are setting it up so that instead of an individual within the institution being relied upon to route the alerts to the departments, we are going to be doing that for that individual.”


MSDSonline aims for wider audience
In an effort to make its workplace safety and material safety data sheet (MSDS) products and services available to more safety professionals, Web-based MSDSonline (Chicago) recently signed with BNA Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based publishing company.

The agreement gives BNA private-label reselling rights to MSDSonline’s MSDSadvantage, BinderView and MSDS Starter Kit offerings. The MSDSonline products and services were to be included in BNA’s new Web-based subscription service, www.safety.bna.com., which had been scheduled to debut in mid-June.

MSDSadvantage is a Web-enabled service for environment, health and safety (EHS) administrators, providing Internet access to comprehensive MSDS content from a database of more than 700,000 MSDSs from approximately 13,000 suppliers. Through the browser-based software, members can search the MSDSonline database, save documents online in a password-protected eBinder, then download the MSDSs to their PC or desktop. The software then allows EHS administrators to organize, group, print, view and archive the documents and generate reports.


Learn how to audit for ISO 9001:2000
A newly revised “How to Audit ISO 9001:2000” is available from Paton Press (Chico, Calif.).

The 208-page, spiral-bound book provides a framework for auditing ISO 9001:2000 from a business perspective, together with detailed descriptions, interpretations of the requirements and a “helpful hints” section. Among the contents: An introduction to ISO 9002:2000, auditing strategy, process monitoring and improvement audit trail, sample audit forms and audit trails, and more.

Price is $49. For more information, visit the Paton Press Web site at http://www.patonpress.com.


EMTS ‘exclusive vendor of choice’ for DCHC
Equipment Management & Technology Solutions (EMTS of Englewood, Colo.) recently inked a deal to provide its Sentry capital equipment cost reduction services to Doctors Community Healthcare Corp. (DCHC of Scottsdale, Ariz.).

The agreement, for a term of three years, names EMTS as the “exclusive vendor of choice” for all current DCHC facilities in California, Illinois and Washington, D.C.

DCHC is a healthcare management company that provides healthcare to urban communities by developing, managing and partnering with physicians and neighborhood groups.


HIMSS and CPRI-HOST to work under the same roof
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS of Chicago) and CPRI-HOST (Chicago) have chosen to combine organizations to create — in their words — the “definitive information resource” on electronic information systems and computer-based patient records (CPR).

The July 1 announcement comes as a result of several months of discussions about the possible unification, initiated by HIMSS. CPRI-HOST’s board approved the plan on June 14.

Consolidation of the two organizations will proceed over the course of the summer.


Depot America to expand inventory facility in U.S.
Hardware distributor Depot America Inc. is expanding its 55,000-square-foot facility in Farmingdale, N.J., due to a need for increased inventory storage.

The project, slated for completion in March 2003, will add 25,000 square feet to the existing facility, bringing the new total size of the building to 80,000 square feet.

“This expansion is a result of remarkable growth and commitment to our established service partners and customers alike,” Bob Leonard, Depot America’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in a company statement. As an authorized parts reseller for Hewlett Packard and master parts distributor for Lexmark, Depot America’s new-part sales have increased over the past six months, warranting more space for inventory, the statement said.


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