Booming business forces Siemens to grow
Siemens Medical Systems has maxed out its Uptime Service Center in Cary, N.C., and a massive expansion of the facility commenced with a ground breaking ceremony on May 24.

d02a.jpg (7692 bytes)Prashant Ranade, Siemens’ vice president of national service, addresses the ground breaking crowd as Val Choumitsky, director of the Uptime Service Center, looks on.

Uptime is Siemens’ U.S. imaging service headquarters and call center. Built in 1996 with space for 123 occupants, there are now 180 Siemens employees packed into the facility, including management, field service technicians, help desk specialists, technical support engineers and administrative staff.

“We have experienced tremendous growth in the past three years, to the point where we have outgrown our current building,” said Prashant Ranade, vice president of Siemens’ National Service organization. “This expansion is an indication of the success of Siemens Medical Systems and the role played by the Uptime Service Center in that success.”

Philips snags biomed provider
Philips Medical Systems North America announced it will acquire Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Medcare Corporation, a biomedical equipment maintenance management firm, this month for an undisclosed sum.

Medcare is privately-held and its current president is Stan Vash. After the purchase it will be named Philips Medcare, part of Philips Multivendor Program (Philips MVP), the manufacturer’s healthcare technology management offering.

Fisher Imaging “Super” reorg sends cardiology to Toshiba
Fisher Imaging announced on May 23 that the company is restructuring all of its service and sales operations to concentrate on breast imaging, a specialty that Fisher considers to be it’s core competency.

“We have been evolving the company in this direction for some time,” said Louis E. Rivelli, CEO of Fisher Imaging. “Breast care is a growing, multi-billion dollar industry that represents a whole world of opportunity for Fisher Imaging and we intend to aggressively attack this market with an invigorated field operations approach.”

The company’s sixty customer-related employees will be organized into five “Super Regions.” Service operations will be accountable for generating sales and meeting revenue goals. According to the Fisher’s announcement, “The company intends to leverage every employee’s ability to surface business opportunities and concentrate attention on the delivery and service of breast care products.”

You Gotta Love It!

photoGurgle your way to a peaceful scoping
There’s nothing worse than having a long, cold, hard, foreign object shoved down your throat or up your nose while you’re fully awake, is there?

Of course not. But researchers at the esteemed Johns Hopkins University think they have identified a way to calm patients during bronchoscopic exams. According to a recent Hopkins study, the simple gurgle of a tranquil brook or the pleasing image of a quiet meadow can help patients blissfully tune out the annoying gurgling and gasping they make when a major piece of equipment is jammed down their throat.

The Hopkins group tested natural sights and sounds on 41 men and women during 25-minute bronchoscopies and ensuing three-hour recovery periods. Patients viewed cloth murals and listened to nature sounds through headphones. Later, they filled out an evaluation form and a comparison was made to patients who did not receive pleasantries. The results indicated the techniques improved pain control by 43 percent.

“Natural sounds and images, if they’re the right ones in the right format, are a safe, inexpensive, effective way to reduce the pain and anxiety of inserting tubes through the nose or mouth to see the lungs,” reported Noah Lechtzin, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Hopkins.

The long road to a cardiac flouro phantom
It’s hard to find consensus in the medical imaging industry.

In the case of establishing criteria for a cardiovascular fluoroscopy benchmark phantom, it took 10 vendors, two associations – the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCA&I) and the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) – and over four years to make it happen. The result is NEMA’s recently published standard XR 21-2000 which establishes characteristics and test procedures for a phantom to benchmark cardiac fluoroscopic and photographic performance.

“Virtually all of the manufacturers of cath lab equipment were represented and there was strong participation from the technical component of industry,” said Martin J. Ratner, vice president and general manager at Nuclear Associates (Carle Place, N.Y.). “There were physicians and medical physicists, as well as the service and engineering component of the manufacturers. For the first time in the imaging industry, there is total consensus that the program and the product is right.”

DigiRad enlists ISO
DigiRad (San Diego) signed Universal Servicetrends (Kennesaw, Ga.) as the exclusive service provider for DigiRad nuclear medicine cameras. Terms of the three-year agreement say Universal Servicetrends will cover the entire United States with the exception of a three-and-a-half state area.

Universal Servicetrends is equally owned by Servicetrends Inc. (Kennesaw), an ISO servicing renal lithotripters, and Universal Medical Resources (St. Louis), a nuclear medicine ISO.

BAX by managed be to logistics reverse GE
GE Medical Systems selected BAX Global (Irvine, Calif.) to handle “reverse logistics,” the process of routing returned equipment and parts, for GE’s service organizations in the United States.

The contract calls for BAX to manage all GE parts maintenance and repair kit reverse logistics activities. Field engineers will call BAX for part or equipment pickups at customer sites. BAX will make same-day pickups inside the hospital and follow through by routing items that need repair to GE’s regional depots, submit weekly order fulfillment reports and post real-time Web-based tracking.

d02c.jpg (4858 bytes)Nemetz to head Marconi service
Marconi Medical Systems Inc. promoted Ted Nemetz to vice president and general manager of its service division on May 14.

Working his way through the ranks at Marconi since 1988, Nemetz has been an area service manager, customer support manager, zone sales manager, zone service manager, and, most recently, vice president of North American field service. Prior to Marconi, Nemetz spent 14 years with Xerox Medical Systems.

HIMSS and CHIM vow to unite
The boards of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Center for Healthcare Information Management (CHIM) agreed at their respective May meetings to seek member approval of a plan to unify the two organizations.

HIMSS President and CEO H. Stephen Lieber listed reasons for combining.

“One is the area of professional issues and public policy,” he said. “You have a much stronger, effective voice by putting the provider community, the end-users, together with the manufacturers and suppliers when you are talking about healthcare policy issues in the information technology and management area. The second point [concerns] the impact on the industry itself. By putting the user together with the vendor, you have a much more efficient way of influencing the direction of technological development.”

Joint Commission enters the surgicenter fray
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) announced on May 3 the publication of the Accreditation Manual for Office-Based Surgery Practices, it’s long-anticipated entry into this active segment of healthcare.

JCAHO joins two other bodies already established in this market, the Accreditation Association For Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. and the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. Both offer accreditation programs and publications aimed at the over 2,500 freestanding surgical centers operating in the United States.

Batteries in a Portable World

imageBattery development progressed rapidly in recent years, so where could an underground surfer charge his battery 411? At, an online book entitled “Batteries in a Portable World” written by Isidor Buchmann, the president, founder and CEO of battery maintenance device-maker Cadex Electronics Inc.

Amid a bit of promotion, there is valuable information, especially in the “New Articles” section. For example, do you know when the battery was invented? Do you know the difference between lithium polymer and lithium ion? The latest on fuel cell technology? How to recycle a battery?

d02d.jpg (8128 bytes)All of this is available free of charge on the site. A hard copy version can be purchased, but our slithering cyberslimer doubts the paper product can compete with the power of electronics.

To purchase the full text of Browser articles, click here…