A Medical Device Daily

Sunquest Infromations Systems (SIS; Tucson, Arizona), a developer of diagnostic information systems, and Healthcare Solutions (HCS; Dubai, UAE), a healthcare information consulting firm and part of the Al Babtain Group, reported that they have signed an agreement for HCS to distribute Sunquest solutions and technologies in the Mideast region.

The agreement is a strategic milestone for both companies, strengthening Sunquest's mission to increase international market share and HCS's commitment to bring innovative healthcare technology to the region.

HCS and Sunquest first collaborated in the support of the Sunquest Laboratory Information System at the Department of Health & Medical Services (DOHMS), which was jointly implemented in 2003. The solution covers four hospitals and 20 healthcare centers and provides an integrated clinical environment that streamlines workflow and provides improved clinical and operational outcomes.

"We look forward to working with Healthcare Solutions for the provision and support of Sunquest's diagnostic information solutions in the region," said Richard Atkin, president and CEO of Sunquest Information Systems. "This agreement is a further realization of Sunquest's international growth plan. It is a natural progression for us to build on our successful DOHMS support relationship with HCS."

In other contracts agreements:

• Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) reported that it has entered into a new, multi-year agreement with Blue Shield of California. The contract became effective Jan. 1. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Members of Blue Shield of California's managed care plans will retain access to Tenet's 13 acute-care hospitals and three freestanding ambulatory surgery centers for their in-network healthcare services. In addition, 10 of the acute-care hospitals are in Blue Shield of California's Medicare Advantage network.

Juan Davila, senior vice president of network management for Blue Shield of California, said, "We are delighted that Tenet and Blue Shield of California will continue working together to provide outstanding access to the highest quality of care for Blue Shield members across the state. Tenet's broad network of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers provides members the opportunity to select the medical facilities and care to best meet their needs."

Tenet Healthcare, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute-care hospitals and related ancillary healthcare businesses, which include ambulatory surgery centers and diagnostic imaging centers.

• Premier Healthcare (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported that 27 hospitals and health systems have joined a new program designed to help participants achieve and sustain rapid improvements in supply chain performance.

ASCEND, the Accelerated Supply Chain Endeavor program, also will assist Premier alliance member hospitals in ongoing efforts to control and reduce costs through simplified purchasing processes and specially negotiated contract benefits.