A Medical Device Daily

Aurora Health Care (Milwaukee) and Celera (Alameda, California) reported entering into an agreement to collaborate on the integration of genetic testing aimed at optimizing heart care for Aurora patients.

As a result, Aurora is the first healthcare provider in Wisconsin and one of the first in the nation to be able to offer patients a test for a variant in a gene called KIF6, which studies have shown indicates a significantly increased risk for heart disease.

Studies have shown that carriers of the KIF6 gene variant make up about 60% of researched populations and that untreated KIF6 carriers have a 50%-55% greater risk for heart attacks1-4.

Despite the risk factor, research also has shown that carriers respond very well to certain statins, a medication used to reduce cholesterol levels. The use of genetic testing is expected to help Aurora physicians identify those patients who are most at risk and to select optimal treatments for them earlier, before a heart attack occurs.

This testing, which will be Aurora's first use of genetic testing in cardiovascular care, is expected to start with patients of Aurora's Cardiovascular Services and to be useful for primary care physicians as well. A simple swab of the inside of a patient's cheek will provide the DNA sample needed for the test.

Aurora and Celera have agreed to explore research areas of mutual interest to validate additional genetic markers for cardiovascular disease risk and treatment.

"We're delighted to be working with Celera, which decoded the human genome, to incorporate genetic testing that will allow our physicians to more readily identify patients who are at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and to determine the most appropriate form of treatment," said Masood Akhtar, MD, president of Aurora Cardiovascular Services. "We view this collaboration as an ideal matching of science and medicine that can greatly benefit our patients."

Traditional cardiovascular assessment programs identify only a portion of individuals at risk for heart attacks. A number of factors are considered, such as family history, smoking, obesity and cholesterol levels. Yet many people with normal or low cholesterol levels still have heart attacks. Genetic testing can help to take the guesswork out of diagnosis.

In other agreements and contracts news:

International system integration consultancy and outsourcing provider Ciber (Pittsburgh) reported the completion of a four-year, multi-million-dollar re-architecture and redevelopment project with TeleTracking Technologies (Pittsburgh). Ciber has also been awarded a new contract to assist with the design and development of new products for TeleTracking Technologies' Patient Flow 2.0 rollout.

TeleTracking Technologies produces patient flow automation solutions. It's release of the Bed Management Suite powered by TeleTracking XT joins TransportTracking which has been live on the TeleTracking XT platform since 2007 at more than 100 hospitals.

"Ciber is very pleased with the completion of the Capacity Management Suite. We are very proud to have worked on this project with TeleTracking Technologies and are confident this application will give hospital staff the information they need to best serve their patients, especially given the current operational challenges hospitals are experiencing and the uncertainty related to the national debate concerning healthcare," said Christine Locklin, VP and Area Director for Ciber in Pittsburgh.

• Aspyra (Westlake Village, California) said that the company has entered into an agreement with Valley View Regional Hospital (VVRH; Ada, Oklahoma) to upgrade the hospital's lab and imaging department systems to the most current release of Aspyra's CyberLAB Laboratory Information System (LIS), CyberPATH Anatomic Pathology (AP) System and CyberRAD Radiology Information System (RIS) solutions.

"We are looking forward to implementation of our upgrade to CyberLAB 7.2, as well as the latest versions of CyberPATH AP and CyberRAD RIS," said Cheryl Weems, VVRH laboratory director. "We are especially excited about the enhancements to the result auto-verification in the lab module, as it will help to prevent medical errors and improve report turnaround. We will institute this process as soon as possible once we are live on the new release."