D02a.jpg (15316 bytes)Hospital Groups Push Bar-Code Legislation
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take swift action on a pledge to pursue regulation requiring the bar coding of medical devices, urged several hospital groups in a recent letter to the FDA.

The request is based on the experience of other industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, that reveals that bar coding applied to medical devices streamlines the supply chain, inventory control, and asset processes in the health care sector, resulting in reduced costs.

Those in favor of the bar-coding legislation also see a compelling patient-safety interest that lies in requiring bar codes for medical devices that could be subject to recalls. The hospital groups in support of such legislation include the American Hospital Association; the Association of American Medical Colleges; the Catholic Health Association; the Federation of American Hospitals; and Premier Inc, a national nonprofit hospital alliance.

While industry professionals agree that action needs to be taken with regard to monitoring device safety and manufacturer compliance with postmarket studies, not all agree that bar coding medical devices is the most effective solution.

“Those who are in favor of the bar-coding legislation have appropriate goals, but this is not the best way to go about fulfilling the agenda,” said Stephen Grimes, senior consultant analyst for Strategic Health Care Technology Associates, Saratoga Springs, NY. “Bar coding is being urged without looking into other, and possibly, better solutions. What’s good for some is not necessarily good for all.”

Grimes suggests the legislators consider other options such as the use of radiofrequency identification, which would allow hospital personnel to instantly locate and retrieve equipment and patient information located anywhere in the facility.

“A specific technology is being forced on our industry without taking into account the limitations or repercussions this technology may have on the work we do,” Grimes said. “The approach should first be to identify the critical issues, and then let professionals in each segment of the industry find a solution that best fits their own needs.”

D02b.jpg (9301 bytes)Fluke Acquires Metron
Continuing its growth trend, Fluke Biomedical recently completed its second acquisition in the past 8 months. In February, the Carson City, Nev-based company acquired Trondheim, Norway-based Metron, a 20-year-old biomedical and clinical engineering product manufacturer. Metron, which holds the largest market share in Europe offering biomedical testing equipment, complements Fluke Biomedical’s quality-assurance solutions in the United States, according to Ken Konopa, president of Fluke Biomedical.

The acquisition of Metron comes on the heels of the December 2004 acquisition of the Radiation Manage-ment Services business of Cardinal Health, Cleveland. Fluke Biomedical is in the process of rebranding both Cardinal’s and Metron’s products with the Fluke Biomedical name; Metron products will retain their product numbers, Konopa said.

Konopa expects Fluke to continue growing steadily with a focus on global Initiatives.

D02c.jpg (12667 bytes)DITEC Holds 12th Annual Conference
Approximately 200 biomedical and diagnostic imaging service professionals traveled from throughout the United States and Canada to attend the DITEC 2K5 national continuing-education conference and vendor exhibits, held May 25–27 in Cleveland.

One of the highlights of the 12th annual event was keynote speaker Stuart Gardner, president of SG&A Consulting Inc, Arlington, Tex.

“The keynote address, ‘PACS Presents New Opportunities,’ by Gardner was extremely well-received,” said Manny Roman, president of DITEC Inc. “Mr Gardner outlined the opportunities that PACS presents to biomedical and imaging service professionals, and listed ways for these professionals to enhance their services and worth to their organizations.”Gardner’s session was one of more than 40 seminars and events. In the exhibit hall, 30 suppliers of products and services demonstrated their “latest and greatest,” according to Roman. Next year’s DITEC conference will be held May 24–26.

D02d.jpg (10309 bytes)Sonora Moves to Larger Facility
To accommodate the continued expansion of the company’s diagnostic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) product and service businesses, Sonora Medical Systems has moved from its 14,000-square-foot space into a new 29,000-square-foot building. The company, an ISO-9001-certified and FDA-registered supplier of aftermarket products and services to the medical-imaging market, completed the move on June 6. As was the previous building, the new Sonora facility is located in Longmont, Colo.

“Sonora continues its track record of success in the ultrasound and MRI markets,” said G. Wayne Moore, president and CEO of Sonora. “This is our third move in the past 5 years, and we are looking forward to taking advantage of our new space and to outgrowing it in the not-too-distant future.”

Sonora supplies depot-level repair and parts services for all of the major MRI and diagnostic ultrasound original equipment manufacturers’ products. In addition, Sonora conducts MRI and ultrasound field service training courses. Watch for further expansion of Sonora’s market offerings in the coming year. The company’s new address is: Sonora Medical Systems Inc, 1751 S Fordham St, Suite 100, Longmont, CO 80503.

RSTI Upgrades Equipment, Reduces Tuition Rates
The Radiological Service Training Institute (RSTI) has transformed itself into a digital training center. In the midst of celebrating its 20th anniversary, Salon, Ohio-based RSTI installed a fully functional picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The equipment enables RSTI to teach integration and networking. Plus, since the system enables any modality to be networked and viewed, all course offerings are improved, according to RSTI. The training center also has added several new multi-vendor and product-specific courses in ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, bone densitometry, and laser printers.

In celebration of the training facility’s anniversary, RSTI is offering special discounts on two product-specific classes: the GE AMX-IV Plus and the GE Advantx R/F. For the remainder of 2005, tuition for these classes will be $1,995 per week. Students taking the courses through RSTI will have unlimited access to the featured systems throughout the duration of the class.

D02e.jpg (10801 bytes)PartsSource One of Hot 100
The 23rd fastest-growing company in America is PartsSource, a supplier of replacement medical parts for hospital equipment, according to Entrepreneur magazine. In conjunction with the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Entrepreneur named its “Hot 100” for 2005 in the June issue. Twinsburg, Ohio-based PartsSource has grown from three employees in January 2001 to more than 75 as of June; revenues eclipsed $19 million in 2004 and are expected to exceed $35 million in 2005. The secret to PartsSource’s success? “Always deliver excellent customer service and you will always make a profit,” according to President and CEO A. Ray Dalton.