A Medical Device Daily

Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas) said it is the first hospital in the country to collaborate with GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) and BrainLAB (Feldkirchen, Germany) to open technically advanced neurosurgery operating room (OR) suites that will allow neurosurgeons to use real-time, intra-operative images of the brain during surgery. The $16.5 million operating suites will be the first to combine the BrainSUITE iMRI and GE Healthcare MR Surgical Suite, Baylor Dallas said.

The four operating room suites opened last week and are equipped to use a high-definition magnetic resonance (MR) scanner and BrainSUITE iMRI navigation system that will help physicians more accurately view a tumor's location and remove diseased tissue, Baylor Dallas said.

"We're bringing together three leading healthcare companies to implement an innovative suite that will enhance the neurosurgeon's ability to provide quality neurosurgical care," said Christopher Michael, MD, medical director for neurosurgical operating rooms, and neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas.

The new technically advanced OR suite at Baylor Dallas will consist of two adjacent rooms specifically dedicated to neurological care. One room will be a neurosurgery operating theater while the other will be a neuroradiology room with a high-definition 1.5T MR scanner. An advanced transport system between the two rooms allows patients to be moved from the OR to the MR scanner and back during surgery.

Three additional neurosurgical suites were also opened. The BrainSUITE iMRI navigation system links the operating room with real-time, intra-operative images of the brain from the MR scanner with the spatial position of the surgical instruments. This provides the physician a more accurate representation of the tumor's location and helps the physician verify the complete removal of a brain tumor during the actual surgery, Baylor Dallas said.

"The real-time images we will be able to use in the new OR suite will help us make great strides in improving outcomes for our neurosurgical patients," Michael said.

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Prometheus Research (New Haven, Connecticut) has signed a three-year contract with the Simons Foundation (New York) to expand their development partnership on SFARI Base, the HTSQL-based informatics platform designed to help researchers collaborate on understanding the causes of autism. The collaboration is part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).

Prometheus, a database management software company, created the HTSQL platform, which allows for real-time access and configuration of databases via the web. The company's flagship product for the biomedical research market, RexDB, formed the basis for SFARI Base, Prometheus said.

The SFARI mission is to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of autism and related developmental disorders. The SFARI database, known as SFARI Base, is a new resource for autism research that provides the scientific community access to genetic and phenotypic information on 2000 families.

• Sequence (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Global Automation Partners (GAP; Danbury, Connecticut) reported a partnership designed to offer computer system integration and compliance solutions to the life sciences industry. According to the companies, the partnership will combine the proven automation and manufacturing IT engineering processes of GAP with the regulatory expertise of Sequence, to effectively design, implement and validate computer systems used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

• Emdeon (San Diego), a provider of revenue and payment cycle solutions, and Bloodhound Technologies (Durham, North Carolina), a claims editing and analytics provider, reported a partnership to deliver a new claims processing model intended to provide healthcare payers with opportunities for greater savings, enhanced processing efficiencies and improved provider relations.

The partnership brings together Emdeon's pre-adjudication advanced claiming logic with Bloodhound's ConVergence Point clinical code integrity platform. Combining these capabilities will simplify implementation of claims editing for payers and make it easier for payers to customize the solution to best meet their needs, according to the companies.

• athenahealth (Portland, Maine), a provider of Internet-based business services to physician practices, and Medical Network (MedNet; Watertown, Massachusetts) reported a new alliance. MedNet providers practicing in all 16 state counties in Maine can now have preferred access to athenahealth's integrated electronic health record (EHR) service, athenaClinicals, and revenue cycle management service, athenaCollector.

• MetricStream (Palo Alto, California), a provider of global governance, risk, compliance and quality management solutions, and SigmaQuest (Sunnyvale, California), a provider of On-Demand, scalable solutions for product quality management, are partnering on the delivery of end-to-end product quality management and compliance solutions.

Military and aerospace, electronics manufacturers and FDA-regulated industries, that utilize both companies' software solutions, can get instant feedback on quality throughout their products' entire lifecycles, pinpoint the root cause of errors, fix processes so errors don't reoccur and prove compliance to stringent quality requirements from FDA and other regulatory organizations, the companies noted.