Mayo Arizona sets up telestroke program

A donation from a generous Mayo Clinic (Phoenix) benefactor is contributing to enhanced evaluation and treatment of patients exhibiting symptoms of stroke – especially patients in rural settings where there may be limited access to stroke neurologists.

The benefactor, Wesley Remington, of St. Joseph, Missouri, is a strong advocate for innovative technology that can bring the stroke specialist to the "bedside," at least virtually.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona initiated the planning of its stroke telemedicine program in 2005, when statistics revealed that 40% of residents in Arizona did not live in an area where they were availed of stroke expertise.

Use of a stroke robot allows the patient in the rural setting to be "seen" by the specialist – in real time. The Mayo stroke neurologist, whose face appears on the screen of the robot, consults with emergency room physicians at the rural sites and evaluates the patient via Internet-based telemedicine, often called "telestroke."

Patients showing signs of stroke can be examined by the neurologist via computer, smart phone technology, portable tablets or laptops. In addition to assessment of the patient, the neurologist can view scans of the patient's brain to detect possible damage from a hemorrhage or blocked artery.

Mayo Clinic was the first medical center in Arizona to do clinical research to study telemedicine as a means of serving patients with stroke in non-urban settings, and today serves as the "hub" in a network of 10 "spoke" centers, all but one in Arizona.

Coviden obesity study wins recognition

Covidien (Boulder, Colorado), a maker of healthcare products and a specialist in mechanical ventilation and respiratory care devices, said the abstract presentation, "The Impact of Obesity and Sleep Disordered Breathing on Postoperative Pulmonary Complications," received a 2011 Annual Scientific Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).

The study was one of the first to examine the relative significance of obesity and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) on the development of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs). The study showed that these two common, frequently comorbid conditions are independently associated with increased rates of PPCs in adult surgical patients receiving parenteral opioids.

"We are delighted that SCCM has chosen to recognize our abstract that highlights the considerable hospital burden of PPCs – a serious and costly occurrence in high-risk patient populations," said Mary Erslon, director, Healthcare Economics, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien, and one of the study authors. "We believe our research provides further evidence of the need to adopt strategies that can help clinicians better identify at-risk patients for whom appropriate interventions, such as continuous monitoring, could avert the development of PPCs. Such strategies may also yield greater savings for hospitals."

HFS Consultants moves to new location

HFS Consultants (Fresno, California), a healthcare management solutions company for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, reported its Fresno location has moved its offices to 680 West Shaw Avenue in the Fig Garden Village section of Fresno.

The move has been undertaken to accommodate staff growth and enable the location to continue to provide revenue cycle management services to hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

Gwynn Smith, director of the Fresno office and head of the company's Revenue Cycle management practice said, "This move will allow our staff to expand and to continue to successfully provide solutions to healthcare organizations seeking assistance with financial issues."

Positron gets MOU with Noblesville, Indiana

Positron (Fishers, Indiana), a molecular imaging company specializing in the field of nuclear cardiology, has executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Noblesville, Indiana to relocate its corporate headquarters, research & development and product manufacturing facilities to Noblesville. Included in the MOU are economic incentives for the development of the company's high-energy 70 MeV cyclotron project and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility also to be located in Noblesville.

Positron is proposing to make a capital investment of approximately $55 million dollars for this project in conjunction with significant economic development incentives from the City of Noblesville and the State of Indiana, as well as various other project financing opportunities.

This cyclotron, once completed, will be the highest energy commercial cyclotron for isotope production within the U.S. and will advance Positron's objectives for the production of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals used in cardiac PET imaging, diagnostic and therapeutic medical radiopharmaceuticals.

Positron's development plans are expected to create more than 80 jobs in Noblesville over the next three to five years, a majority of which would be highly-skilled, professional positions. The company said it believes Noblesville to be the ideal choice for expansion plans based on its growing economy, strategic location, and the city's commitment to promoting a thriving healthcare and technology environment.

St. Jude opens renovated Austin office

St. Jude Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) has opened its new 80,000-square-foot Austin, Texas, office following about 16 months renovating the space.

The announced last year plans to grow from its 60,000-square-foot Las Cimas office to a larger space at the Palisades West complex, both in West Austin.

The facility will provide space for physician simulation training as well as house office support staff.

St. Jude first opened its Austin office in 2005 with six staff. It now employs about 160 people in Austin and 14,000 globally.

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