Stanford Medical to post faculty conflicts

The Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, California) said that it would be posting on its web site the medical- and research-related consulting activities for some 1,200 physicians and faculty affiliated with the medical school. The new policy is slated to go into effect later this year and will make widely available to the public information that clinicians and researchers already disclose annually as part of the school's procedures to manage conflicts of interest.

"Industry collaborations are critical to furthering research efforts and innovative patient care, but at the same time, concerns over these activities are eroding the public trust," said Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the medical school. "I hope that steps to increase transparency will resonate with those we serve, educate and work with-and reinforce that trust."

The policy applies when faculty members or other Stanford physicians receive consulting payments for speaking or other honoraria of $5,000 or more per year from a commercial entity for activities related to their professional activities. By the end of the year, the school will report these relationships in the online profiles for such faculty and physicians, which will be updated annually. "Access to information about physicians' interactions with industry is key to fostering strong doctor-patient relationships, as well as increasing public confidence in the medical community," said Pizzo.

Verticals onDemand now called Veeva Systems

Verticals onDemand (Pleasanton, California) said it has changed its name to Veeva Systems. Veeva, a variant of the Latin word viva which means "to live," attests to the company's singular commitment to the life sciences industry, and to fulfilling its mission of delivering all of the benefits of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to every facet of the global life sciences industry.

"We are the fastest growing organization in the Pharma CRM space, so it makes sense that we extend the advantages of SaaS, like unparalleled flexibility and low maintenance costs, to other areas in the life sciences organization," said Peter Gassner, president/CEO of Veeva Systems. "It's a natural evolution of our product portfolio."

Vertos Medical opens new training facility

Vertos Medical (Aliso Viejo, California), a privately held medical device manufacturer that makes the mild (Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression) procedure to treat patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), reported the opening of its new physician training facility and headquarters in Aliso Viejo.

"Numerous physicians are trained and now doing the mild procedure, and there is a growing interest in training from the physician community. To support this effort, we've opened a new state-of-the-art training facility," said James Corbett, president/CEO of Vertos. "This better enables Vertos to train large groups of doctors efficiently and effectively." The San Jose operations have been converted to the Vertos Technology Center where research and development and manufacturing will remain.

Quest Diagnostics to provide free testing

Quest Diagnostics (Madison, New Jersey) said it will provide strep and urine cultures and other select laboratory testing services for free to qualified patients served through the Take Care Recovery Plan, which is an offer, announced by Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems, to provide free health care services at Take Care Clinics. The offer is available to qualified patients, including Take Care Clinic patients, and their immediate family members, who lose their job on or after March 31, 2009, and are uninsured. The offer runs through the end of the year.

"Quest Diagnostics recognizes that many American families are struggling to afford quality laboratory testing services during the current economic downturn," said Steve Burton, VP, Health and Wellness Services, Quest Diagnostics. "Our participation in the Take Care Recovery Plan will help more patients to access our laboratory testing services. We look forward to participating in the Take Care Recovery Plan, which will extend the range of financial assistance programs Quest Diagnostics has long provided to patients grappling with financial hardship."

Save $4 Billion launched by Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters (New York) has launched an initiative to help U.S. hospitals reduce healthcare costs by $4 billion over three years while improving the quality of medical care.

The company's Save $4 Billion campaign will offer U.S. hospital CEOs an analysis that shows how their hospitals compare to industry norms and benchmarks in clinical quality, patient safety, financial performance, and operational efficiency. Thomson Reuters will meet with hospital executives to discuss their results and where they should focus improvement efforts to have the greatest impact.

Hospitals also can enlist in the Save $4 Billion campaign and pledge their commitment to reduce costs at www.save4billion.com.

GE lessens environmental impact via digital X-ray

GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, England) reported its first line of digital radiography X-ray products from the company to be recognized as ecomagination offerings, based on the systems' energy and operational efficiency.

The company's digital x-ray technology enables digital image review, thereby eliminating the film and chemicals used by an analog processor, GE noted. For example, eliminating 50,000 analog films saves 1,900 gallons of fixer and developer a year. Avoiding the need of analog film processing also removes the need to purchase, handle and dispose of processing developer and fixer chemicals, the company said.

A GE Healthcare digital X-ray room is designed to replace two GE analog X-ray rooms, saving energy and space, and avoiding water and chemical use for film processing, while maintaining the same imaging volume, the company further noted.

"With this line of radiology systems, we are not only delivering on our commitment to provide safe, high-quality products, but also providing clinics a cost savings and opportunity to reduce their environmental impact," said John Dineen, president/CEO of GE Healthcare.

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