New MR safety guidelines on tap; No delay in new telemetry frequency bands; Diagnostic Imaging to distribute NAI DICOM box

New MR Safety Guidelines on Tap
Safety in the MR environment grabbed headlines last July with The New York Times’ report that a 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a ferromagnetic oxygen canister that had been pulled into the bore of the MR system in which he was lying. That accident drew attention to the “projectile effect,” considered the most spectacular and publicly recognized hazard of the MR environment.

That case raised questions about, and awareness of, MR safety, especially in light of the fact that an increasing amount of equipment and instrumentation is being used in MR scan rooms — conducting surgeries under MR guidance, for example. Also, the growing popularity of high-field-strength MR scanners dictate that healthcare facilities pay even closer attention to MR protocols.

Shortly after the incident, the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), posted on its Web site a notice from ECRI (Emergency Care Research Institute of Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) regarding the importance of safety precautions in the MR environment.

Diagnostic Imaging to Distribute NAI DICOM Box
NAI Technology Products (Auburn, Calif.), a division of North American Imaging, Inc., finalized a distribution agreement with Diagnostic Imaging (DI of Jacksonville, Fla.) in which NAI’s network interface, the DICOM box, will be included in the majority of DI’s medical network projects.

The distribution agreement authorizes DI to distribute NAI’s connectivity products through its regional offices. Various DI branch offices have already incorporated NAI’s DICOM box on a variety of print network, teleradiology and PACS installations.

No Delay in New Telemetry Frequency Bands
Fresh on the heels of our February article regarding the world of medical telemetry and wireless patient monitoring (See “Radio Talk: Telemetry’s prime candidates ask for your vote,” page 18), we encountered a rumor: Is it likely that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in light of the U.S. military’s more visible and powerful role since the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Centers, may have to delay the implementation of it of its dedicated Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS) band?

“That’s news to me,” said H. Mark Gibbons, business development for Comsearch in Ashburn, Va.

Comsearch was selected last summer by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association (AHA) as the technical partner to perform frequency coordination services in the new WMTS.

Patient Safety News

Too much television. That’s what the Web Worm’s mother used to say was ruining the kids today. Well, if she hadn’t been flattened by that Ford Tempo a few years ago, even dear old mom would be glad her offspring was tuning into the FDA Patient Safety News.

The FDA Patient Safety News is a series of healthcare updates from the Center for Devices and Radiological Health that is broadcast on several satellite broadcast networks. What it doesn’t have: Janet Reno’s raucous Mardi Gras vacation tape.

What it does have: FDA clearances, recalls, safety notifications and other medical device information. (What the Web site at www.fda.

gov/cdrh/psn/ doesn’t clearly explain: Why you need to see broadcasts that are likely accessible on the Web site itself.)

web siteCatch some of our wiggly Web wanderer’s favorite episodes including the smoldering “FDA Clears External Defibrillator For Use on Young Children,” the suspenseful, “FDA Approves New Glucose Test for Adult Diabetics” and who can forget the side-splitting “Safer Use of Central Venous Catheters.” It was better than “Friends”!

And if you can’t catch the News when broadcast, you can get videotaped editions of these broadcasts for a very reasonable rate from the always cash-strapped FDA.


Superhero leading Indiana hospital

d01c.jpg (8633 bytes)An intriguing headline caught our eye: “Batman named president of Ball Memorial Hospital.” Can it be true? Has the Dark Knight left crime fighting to enter the fearsome world of healthcare management? Is Catwoman the new vice president of nursing? Will BMETs wear green tights and utility belts? We had to tune in to that Bat-Channel and find out.

The quote from Kelly Stanley, board chairman of the hospital, was no help. “We felt he was the best person to help BMH and CHS continue to move forward and recognize that potential,” said Stanley in the release. What sort of fiend could ensnare a hospital to the degree it required the help of Batman? Did The Penguin take over Medicare reimbursements?

Well, it turns out the gentleman in question is Brent L. Batman and he is an experienced executive who has been with the parent of Ball Memorial, Cardinal Health System of Muncie, Ind., for over a year. Before that, Mr. Batman — not the Batman — was the COO of St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network of Bethlehem, Pa.

So don’t expect the paging system to be replaced by the Bat-Signal in Muncie.

“There is a strong history associated with Ball Memorial Hospital,” Brent Batman said in the press release announcing his appointment. “The groundwork is in place for a bright future. I look forward to continuing my work with the staff at CHS and BMH.”

Hmmm. Come to think of it, that sounds like the sort of profound statement Bruce Wayne might make.

UPMC, Air Force to collaborate on global telemedicine project
UPMC Health System (Pittsburgh) and the U.S. Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) will collaborate to develop a telemedicine technology to link specialists in pathology, radiology and dermatology to remote locations around the world.

Over the next year, UPMC and the Air Force will develop what they described as a “multi-specialty teleconsultation system” with a common platform to help clinicians access and view medical information, from pathology slides to CT scans.

Indianapolis consortium launches plans for all-digital heart hospital
A joint venture between the Community Health Network (Indianapolis) and a nationwide group of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons recently launched a $60 million effort to build a completely digital heart hospital.

The Indiana Heart Hospital is scheduled to open in December 2002 as a 210,000 square-foot facility with 88 patient beds, 32 outpatient rooms, four surgery suites, six cardiac catheterization labs and a cardiac emergency department.

Siemens, HealthSouth craft all-digital hospital
The days of the paperless hospital may be drawing near.

Siemens Corp. (New York City) has joined HealthSouth Corp. (Birmingham, Ala.) in a multi-million dollar effort to build the world’s first totally integrated, all-digital, automated hospital.

Siemens will provide healthcare information technology (IT) applications and infrastructure, digital medical imaging equipment, network systems, telecommunications, and building technologies for the new HealthSouth Medical Center (Birmingham).

photoInterMed gets new digs
InterMed, Inc. recently moved into its newly completed headquarters building and dedicated warehouse facility in Alachua, Fla. The combined facility has more than 18,000 sq. ft. of space, and will be used primarily to support corporate operations and the company’s Capital Credits Program for equipment sales.

InterMed has expanded its core technology services to include sales and refurbishment of pre-owned medical equipment, tailored servicing of sterilization equipment, medical equipment insurance, CT and nuclear medicine services. InterMed provides comprehensive, in-house service programs for hospitals and clinics on the East Coast as well as national ultrasound service and parts management. InterMed supports an array of flexible services from total technology management to single-piece equipment insurance.

IT security, patient safety top annual HIMSS poll
Meeting mandated requirements for information technology security, and promoting patient safety and reducing medical errors, are the top priorities in the 13th annual Leadership Survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS of Chicago).

HIMSS released the details of its poll at the annual HIMSS meeting in late January in Atlanta.

Sixty percent of survey participants identified their current priority as upgrading security on IT systems to meet requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Fifty-six percent also say security issues will remain an IT priority for the next two years.

RatnerRatner joins Capintec
Radiation measuring and monitoring equipment maker Capintec Inc. (Ramsey, N.J.) announced in February that Martin J. Ratner has joined the company as vice president, sales and marketing, medical business development. In addition to domestic and international sales, marketing and communications, Ratner is responsible for the identification and selection of new products and technologies.

Analogic’s Miller steps down as president/CEO
Thomas J. Miller Jr., president and CEO of Analogic Corp. (Peabody, Mass.), resigned from the company in mid-February.

Analogic founder and Executive Chairman Bernard Gordon will take over as the company’s chief executive until a successor is selected.

HeckerHecker joins Franek
Franek Technologies Inc. (FTI of Tustin, Calif.) has hired Ray Hecker as VP of business development. Hecker’s responsibilities include new business development and strategic planning as well as heading up the company’s consulting division. This division advises companies on the most cost-effective way to protect the laboratory environment from undesirable power surges, sags and interrupts.

coverQuackery Devices find new home
After nearly 20 years in business, the Museum of Questionable Devices in Minneapolis has closed up shop and is shipping its treasures to the Science

Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Readers with good memories may remember our May 2001 cover (below) that featured the Psychograph, a device that reads the bumps on your head to “deduce” your personality and suggest suitable careers.

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