A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Covidien (Boulder, Colorado) reported that it has integrated its Nellcor OxiMax oximetry system into Philips Healthcare's (Andover, Massachusetts) IntelliVue and M-Series patient monitors.

Customers will have the added flexibility of choosing the Nellcor OxiMax technology in Philips IntelliVue and M-Series patient monitors for critical care areas such as the Intensive Care, Emergency, Anesthesia and Neonatal Care departments.

This enables the IntelliVue and M-Series patient monitors to be compatible with Covidien's Nellcor OxiMax specialty sensors, including the Max-Fast forehead sensor for patients with poor perfusion and the SoftCare nonadhesive sensor line for patients with sensitive skin, including newborns.

In the intensive-care unit and other high-acuity areas of the hospital, Max-Fast and SoftCare sensors support effective, comfortable care for the most critical patients.

"Hospitals and clinicians are under constant pressure to improve outcomes and decrease costs. In turn, they are demanding expanded access to the technologies and medical devices they trust," said Chris Lowery, general manager and vice president, patient monitoring, Covidien.

"Covidien's partnership with Philips gives hospitals access to advanced technology from two leading medical monitoring companies," he said. "The successful completion of this collaboration with Philips, a recognized industry leader in patient monitoring, is consistent with Covidien's mission to provide products that help clinicians deliver safe and efficacious patient care, while simultaneously maximizing hospital efficiency."

"Many clinicians have expressed great interest in Nellcor OxiMax technology in our IntelliVue patient monitors," said David Russell, vice president and chief marketing officer, Informatics and Patient Monitoring, Philips Healthcare. "This collaboration enhances our ability to provide customers in the USA, Europe and many other markets with a choice of their preferred trusted pulse oximetry technology. This partnership also underscores Philips' commitment to providing clear, accurate information to support clinical decision-making across all areas of the hospital."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) reported an agreement to become an official medical equipment supplier of the New York Yankees. As part of the agreement, a radiology system was installed inside Yankee Stadium, enabling onsite diagnosis of players by the Yankees' medical team.

In addition, potentially life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are available in both the player areas and in select locations in the stadium, providing emergency care to fans that might be in need during a game.

The Philips BuckyDiagnost, an advanced X-ray system, provides onsite X-ray capabilities inside the Yankees clubhouse. The system comes with a tool that creates crisp digital diagnostic images, which are available to team doctors almost instantaneously. The system also has multiple features that reduce unnecessary X-ray exposure while maintaining image quality.

• Steris (Mentor, Ohio) and Siemens Medical Solutions USA (Malvern, Pennsylvania) have agreed to collaborate to offer optimized vascular, cardiovascular and neurosurgical hybrid surgical suites. The collaboration was reported at the Society of Vascular Surgery (Chicago) annual meeting in Denver.

Siemens said it would provide advanced information and interventional technologies, while Steris will supply custom-designed HD 360 Suites featuring LED surgical lighting and visualization systems as well as OR integration and equipment management solutions. STERIS will also provide room design and project management services using its three-dimensional Room Builder software.

The hybrid suites that result from Steris and Siemens' joint efforts will enable surgical and diagnostic teams to carry out a vast range of image-guided cardiovascular, vascular, and neurosurgical interventional procedures as well as open surgeries, the companies said.

"Our two companies share a commitment to providing seamless solutions to our customers as they advance their level of care," commented Bill O'Riordan, VP and general manager of Steris Surgical Solutions. "Working together, we can help facilities meet growing procedural demands and provide the technology that will integrate capabilities for new interventional procedures, minimally invasive surgeries and open procedures, all in the same space. This collaboration will also able to help healthcare providers embrace future surgical innovation with ease."

According to the companies, the collaboration will deliver hybrid operating room solutions that enable healthcare facilities to improve workflow and streamline room planning and installation. Clinical staff will benefit from the resulting tailored and intuitive environment that has the potential to increase the efficiency and optimize the outcomes of these procedures. Most importantly, these new rooms offer hospitals the opportunity to better address room utilization challenges and make the most of their capital investments, Siemens and STERIS said.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has partnered with Abbott (Abbott Park, Illinois) to launch a non-profit viral diagnostics center near the UCSF Mission Bay campus to help identify unknown viruses from around the world.

The UCSF Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center aims to expedite virus discovery in acute and chronic human illnesses, including outbreaks and rare and unusual diseases.

Among the center's initial projects is genetic sequencing of strains of the H1N1 influenza virus that emerged in Mexico this spring. The lab is collaborating with international researchers to compare strains found in patients in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, in an effort to identify how stable the virus is and how it is changing as it spreads.

The center also is actively engaged in efforts to characterize rare and unusual strains of HIV from Cameroon, Africa, according to Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at UCSF and director of the new center.

"We have seen tremendous demand from around the world for help in identifying the cause of infectious diseases, in both humans and animals," said Chiu, who also is affiliated with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3. "This center starts to address this need."

The center's technology is based on the ViroChip, a high-throughput screening technology that uses a DNA microarray to test viral samples. The ViroChip was developed by UCSF professors Joe DeRisi, PhD, and Donald Ganem, MD, and was first used in the 2003 identification of the virus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Since then, the DeRisi Laboratory has fielded numerous requests to help identify mysterious illnesses that have stumped public health agencies, physicians and veterinarians alike, Chiu said.

While two similar viral diagnostics centers exist in New York and Singapore the latter also set up in collaboration with DeRisi this center is unique in offering both viral discovery as well as serving as a diagnostic resource for clinical researchers and physicians

The center also will help Abbott in its efforts to develop innovative diagnostic technologies and tests to detect new infectious agents as they arise, especially for application in screening blood supplies.