A Medical Device Daily

Cascades Technologies (CTi; Herndon, Virginia), a consulting firm for the federal government, together with Science Applications International (SAIC; San Diego), reported the award of a contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health.

The contract to SAIC is for $19 million over a seven-year period of performance. CTi will provide regulatory affairs, technical and administrative support for clinical research programs through this contract.

CTi said its role will be focused on technical services. Among other tasks, CTi will maintain and operate a regulatory management database for NIAID known as the Human Subject Research Oversight and Accountability Database (HSROAD). CTi also will investigate new and improved technologies to enhance the efficiency and ease of use of this database. In addition, it will assist SAIC with system security for the database system.

CTi joined the SAIC team after having provided technical support to one of NIAID's divisions for the past eight years. CTi originally designed and built the HSROAD database.

"We are excited about continuing to support the vital mission of NIAID as well as NIH in general," said Alfredo Casta, president/CEO of CTi. "We are proud to team with SAIC to ensure the clinical research supported by NIAID is as effective as possible in saving lives and improving the health of people all over the world."

"We look forward to applying our expertise in biomedical and regulatory affairs to a program that improves national and global health through clinical research and development of new drugs, biologics and devices to treat or prevent infectious diseases," said Robert McCord, SAIC senior VP and business unit general manager.

In other agreements/contracts news, Premier (San Diego) said it would partner with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON; Durham, North Carolina) in the fight against healthcare associated infections (HAIs) which infect more than 2 million hospital patients and cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $6.25 billion each year.

The partnership extends the scope of Premier's new SafetyConnect, an enhanced harm avoidance program that facilitates ongoing infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship in healthcare facilities, the company said.

DICON is a collaboration of the Duke University School of Medicine (also Durham) and 35 community hospitals.

With DICON's online access to ready-to-implement educational tools and strategies, SafetyConnect members will have a decisive advantage in the war against infections. SafetyConnect includes a comprehensive offering of proprietary data analytics/software tools, service support and networking/knowledge sharing opportunities.

DICON's primary focus on improving outcomes for patients by reducing the rate of healthcare associated infections and minimizing the costs associated with these harmful events dovetails with Premier's core purpose of improving the health of communities.

"All community hospitals need to institute prevention and educational programs designed to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections, yet the administrative and technical support needed to achieve this goal is often limited," said DICON Medical Director Daniel Sexton, MD. "DICON has developed a practical solution for this dilemma by designing a series of inexpensive but useful and practical ready-to-use programs that allow hospitals to begin the processes of prevention and education quickly."

Premier said its SafetySurveillor helps hospitals meet state-mandated public reporting of certain HAIs, including screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile, some of the most common and harmful infections found in hospitals today. With the automated SafetySurveillor system, hospitals can detect HAIs, alert staff and facilitate timely intervention to reduce and prevent infections.

Jeff Petry, Premier vice president, program development, said, "DICON's educational offerings complement the Premier SafetyConnect program perfectly. DICON offers critical resources, sophisticated data analysis and metrics and access to infection control experts. Hospitals that have used DICON's evidence-based resources have proven reductions in [HAIs] ranging from 18% to 40% in such areas as MRSA, blood stream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia. We want to translate the results to all SafetyConnect members. This is just the beginning of that transformation."

Premier is one of the HAI surveillance system software vendors participating in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project to develop a standards-based solution for transmission of HAI data from hospitals using existing commercial software systems to the agency's National Healthcare Safety Network.

Premier also reported new agreements with Briggs Medical Service Company and Affiliates (West Des Moines, Iowa), a small business enterprise, in two categories: documentation solution systems, life enrichment products and services, and education and management training; and medical and surgical products specialty distribution.

Effective Jan. 1, the 36-month agreements are available to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.