FDA OK JUMP-STARTS PHILIPS’ AT-HOME DEFIBRILLATOR
The FDA on Nov. 12 approved a new defibrillator from Philips Medical Systems (Andover, Mass.) designed specifically for home use.

The HeartStart Home Defibrillator, requiring a doctor’s prescription, “talks” the operator through each step of the resuscitation effort — the voice clear, calm and with instructions more comprehensive than those currently associated with the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) used by trained first-responders. News reports indicated that Philips provided the FDA small studies showing that people who had never seen the device could follow the directions.

The underlying defibrillation technology in the HeartStart is identical to that in Philips’ AEDs in use on airlines and in airports, workplaces and other public places. Newer technologies, however, such as the Smart Pad, sense the rescuer’s actions and automatically adjust the pace of the voice instructions to meet the needs of the individual user. Voice coaching for adult and infant/child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) provides voice instructions and audio cues for each breath together with the appropriate number and rate of chest compressions.


SWISSRAY TO ADD MONITORING, REMOTE DIAGNOSTICS SERVICE
Swissray International (Elmsford, N.Y.) and Questra Corp. (Redwood City, Calif.) are collaborators in Swissray’s newest customer-service feature for its direct digital radiography (ddR) line.

Swissray will use Questra’s device relationship management (DRM) “sensing” software to integrate remote monitoring and diagnostic services into its customer support center, the Swissray Expert-Center. That will give customer-service operators the capability to monitor Swissray installations ‘round the clock, automatically and securely.

As guests in a Questra-hosted Web seminar on Oct. 23, Swissray America’s Ueli Laupper, CEO, and John Monahan, vice president, said the two companies have been conducting testing in-house since early October and beta sites have been selected. Swissray expects to make the feature available in early 2003, they said.


KICK OFF THE NEW YEAR PICKING UP NEW SKILLS
Patton Consultants Inc. (Hilton Head, S.C.) will hold its “Service Parts Management” training course, Jan. 13-15, 2003. The hands-on workshop is designed for people who participate in service parts management or are responsible for service logistics.

RSTI (Salon, Ohio), meanwhile, has scheduled several training courses in January in its X-ray Certificate Series and its Computer Networking and Digital Information Management program.

The Service Parts Management course will be at the Radisson Hotel San Francisco. The hotel, located at 5000 Sierra Point Parkway, Brisbane, Calif., is five miles north of the San Francisco airport and provides complimentary transportation to and from the airport. For discounted hotel reservations, call the hotel directly at 415-467-4400 or 877-371-4440 by Dec. 27, and mention the Patton Consultants workshop.


MAQUET CHOOSES AXEDA FOR REMOTE DIAGNOSTICS
Maquet GmbH & Co. KG (Rastatt, Germany) has teamed up with Axeda Systems Inc. (Mansfield, Mass.) to monitor, manage and service its operating tables remotely.

Maquet has licensed the Axeda DRM (Device Relationship Management) system for its radio-translucent operating tables, such as the Advanced Workplace for Image Guided Surgery (AWIGS) and the Vascular Interventional Workplace for Advanced Surgery (VIWAS) integrated surgery and radiology products. Patients remain on the AWIGS and VIWAS tables beginning with their diagnosis, though radiology to the end of surgery, thus reducing the risk and time involved in their transfer to different tables.

With the Axeda DRM system, Maquet will be able to extend the reach of its service organization and respond to customer-service calls quickly. Service personnel will verify platform status and performance continuously, remotely diagnosing problems and dispatching service personnel only if needed. The DRM system also gives Maquet access to critical system information in real time.


ARAMARK CLOSES ON PREMIER’S CTS
Managed services provider Aramark (Philadelphia) in October closed on its acquisition of Premier Inc.’s Clinical Technology Services (CTS of Charlotte, N.C.) business.

The addition of CTS means that Aramark now will provide clinical equipment services for an expanded client base of more than 340 healthcare institutions, including 168 Premier member hospitals and healthcare organizations in the United States.

In an earlier interview Larry Abramson, senior vice president of Supply Chain Solutions at Premier, told 24×7 that CTS’s 600 employees would become Aramark employees when the deal closed. Of those 600 approximately 100, involved in training, support and sales, work out of the Charlotte office. Whether or not they continue to be based in Charlotte will be Aramark’s call, he said at the time. (See “Premier Says Sale Good For Competition, Expects Fourth Quarter Close,” September 24×7 Browser.)


BUSH SIGNS BILL TO SPEED APPROVAL OF MEDICAL DEVICES
President Bush on Oct. 26 signed into law the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act of 2002, which extends the funding mechanism for the FDA’s drug and biologics reviews to the agency’s device review program.

Under the new law, device manufacturers will pay fees to the FDA to review new product applications in exchange for legally required reductions in approval times. The New York Times reports that manufacturers would pay user fees initially set at $139,000 for review of each new device. Small businesses, with sales of less than $10 million annually, would pay $53,000 for each application.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) is on record as saying that the funding mechanism will enable the FDA to “expedite approval of medical devices, and thus reduce time to market for industry and give consumer earlier access to innovative treatments, with greater choice among products.”


DMS IMAGING PURCHASES MOBILE DIAGNOSTIC
DMS Imaging, a member of the DMS Health Group (Fargo, N.D.) last month
purchased Mobile Diagnostic Services Inc. (Fall River, Wis.).

The transaction involved the exchange of cash for assets, but no other details of the deal were made public. The company will operate as DMS Portable X-ray, a division of DMS Imaging. DMS Health Group is a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corp. (Fergus Falls, Minn., and Fargo, N.D.).

Mobile Diagnostic Services provides portable X-ray services in and around Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau and Green Bay, Wis.


WELCH ALLYN HOOKS UP WITH PROVATION
Welch Allyn Monitoring (Beaverton, Ore.) and ProVation Medical Inc. (Minneapolis, Minn.) launched a joint marketing agreement, effective Nov. 1.

The agreement calls for the Welch Allyn Propaq, Vital Signs Monitor and Atlas patient monitoring products to interface with ProVation’s MD/RN procedure documentation and coding compliance software. The companies’ initial efforts will be applied to products targeting the gastroenterology (GI) hospital and ambulatory surgery markets.

“Interfacing our patient monitors with ProVation MD/RN software, so that a patient’s vital sign measurements are automatically documented in the electronic procedure record, is an example of Welch Allyn’s broader corporate mission to advance front-line care,” Hans Stover, Welch Allyn Monitoring president, said in a prepared statement.


AMBER DIAGNOSTICS EXPANDS REMANUFACTURING, ADDS MITSUBISHI
Amber Diagnostics (Orlando, Fla.) has expanded its remanufacturing capabilities to include 3M, Agfa and Eastman Kodak dry laser imaging systems.

At the same time, the company has been awarded a Mitsubishi Imaging Products diamond dealership, which will allow Amber to sell the full line of Mitsubishi’s medical imaging printers and accessories.

Amber Diagnostics President and CEO Bobby Serros said in a prepared statement that the company has made a “substantial investment” in a full inventory of dry laser parts and accessories.


PLATINUM CLOSES ON BUYS OF PSS’ DI, PHILIPS’ HCP
Platinum Equity LLC (Los Angeles) in November jumped into the healthcare equipment and supply distribution market, completing its deals to acquire Diagnostic Imaging (DI of Jacksonville, Fla.) from PSS World Medical Inc. (Jacksonville) and the Health Care Products (HCP of Mayfield Village, Ohio) division of Royal Philips Electronics (Best, Netherlands).

Platinum closed on its acquisition of DI on Nov. 18, and completed its purchase of HCP on Nov. 20.

The global acquisition firm plans to merge the two medical imaging distributors into one company. Platinum also named Jerry C. Cirino as the new entity’s CEO. Cirino served as executive vice president at the former Marconi Medical Systems Inc., where he headed the company’s global sales, service, marketing and operations. He also served as president of Marconi’s HCP division, which was sold to Philips in 2001.

As for the new entity, Platinum said that details on the new company’s new name, brand image, management team, operational structure and business plans will be announced as the transition unfolds over the next several months.


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