A Medical Device Daily

IntriCon (Arden Hills, Minnesota), a developer of body-worn medical and electronic devices, reported a strategic alliance with Dynamic Hearing (Melbourne, Australia), a designer of digital signal processing (DSP) firmware used in ultra-low-power (ULP) DSP hardware platforms for the hearing health and professional audio markets.

IntriCon said it intends to use the license from Dynamic Hearing to develop new body-worn ULP-DSP applications.

"Our alliance with Dynamic Hearing is another step forward in our strategy to expand IntriCon's hearing health and professional audio product portfolio," said Mark Gorder, president/CEO of IntriCon. "The agreement with Dynamic Hearing provides us with access to the technology and engineering expertise to develop new body-worn DSP and wireless-based products. As a result, we believe we will be even better equipped to meet customers' growing needs, and enhance the mobility and effectiveness of our devices."

The five-year agreement provides IntriCon an optional exclusive license for hearing aid products, subject to certain limitations.

In other agreement/contract news:

iMedica (Dallas), a developer of healthcare software solutions for physician practices, said that Park City Healthcare (Utah) has chosen iMedica's Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) solution after an extensive search.

Park City Healthcare is a 10-physician practice in the ski resort city. Because of the heavy influx of out-of-state skiers every winter, the practice experiences a surge of urgent-care patients during ski season equal to what a practice of 20 to 25 physicians would see. Given those and other requirements, Park City Healthcare searched for an EHR provider for more than two years before deciding on the iMedica Patient Relationship Manager (PRM), according to the company.

iMedica's PRM is a fully-integrated solution that uses Microsoft's flexible .NET technology, a feature that replicates data onto a tablet PC or laptop, enabling clinicians to access or update patient charts from anywhere and at anytime without being connected to the Internet, LAN or WAN. The iMedica PRM also offers total security, the company said, by repopulating data lost in a power outage or disaster. PRM 2008 enhancements include fully integrated PQRI reporting, robust medication and vaccine management functions, reimbursement maximization tools and an advanced collections module.

Affiliated Computer Services (ACS; Dallas) reported a $4 million five-year contract to provide electronic patient records capture for the City of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency.

ACS will equip all of New Orleans' ambulances with the Firehouse (FH) Mobile EMS software that allows local EMS personnel to record complete patient data in real time, whether in the field at a patient's side or in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

According to ACS, FH Mobile EMS is the first product that has been fully integrated into ACS' Firehouse software, the most widely used fire department records management system in the nation. The company said more than 14,000 clients worldwide have selected its Firehouse software.

Tufts Medical Center (Boston) has chosen the Premier (San Diego) healthcare alliance as its group purchasing performance partner.

The new partnership will employ Premier's resources — including purchasing services, Premier's field force, technology, tools, consulting and insurance — to help the academic medical center reduce non-labor expenses.

Tufts is among five major academic and teaching health systems to join Premier recently, along with two others who recommitted to the alliance, Premier said.

As part of the new partnership, Tufts also joined Yankee Alliance (Andover, Massachusetts) and will have access to the more than $1 billion Yankee Alliance/Premier portfolio when participation in regional aggregation is advantageous. Yankee Alliance is a regional alliance of more than 50 acute-care hospitals and thousands of other healthcare facilities, such as surgery centers and imaging centers, mostly in New England, that enjoy significant cost savings through collaboration in purchasing, sharing best practices and knowledge transfer.

Yankee Alliance is a shared services/group purchasing organization whose mission is to meet their members' common goals of financial, clinical and operational effectiveness and produce uncommon results through collaborative thinking, combined resources and shared strength.

Premier said it has assigned a full-time consulting project manager for two years as well as clinical subject matter experts and other resources, such as Premier Insurance Management Services, to help Tufts significantly reduce its non-labor expenses.

Premier also reported that new agreements for vena cava filters have been awarded to Bard Peripheral Vascular (Tempe, Arizona) and Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana).

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

ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI; Cambridge Massachusetts) and California Stem Cell (Irvine, California) reported a new collaboration aimed at advancing any potential application of stem cells in treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The new set of experiments will begin in August and continue through the end of 2009. This effort is the latest in the two groups' on-going partnership to understand how stem cells, and their derivatives, may be used as part of a therapeutic strategy to treat or cure the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

Expanding its information technology and data integration solutions to more Louisiana hospitals, health systems and physician practices, Carefx (Scottsdale, Arizona) said that Ochsner Health System (New Orleans) will deploy the fusion from Carefx interoperability platform to provide 15,000 users, including 1,500 physicians, with a detailed and unified view of patient data from multiple clinical databases. Ochsner physicians will be able to access real-time patient information through a portal from anywhere — at the point-of-care, from home, the office or while traveling.

The Ochsner partnership brings Carefx's Louisiana deployments to nearly 70. It also complements and extends Carefx's involvement with the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange (LARHIX), which links 24 northern Louisiana community hospitals with Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Shreveport).

Ochsner is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana.

Carefx provides an open, scalable patient data aggregation platform that provides clinicians with real-time access to information residing in disparate clinical applications. Fusion from Carefx can be operated either in a desktop or a web-based environment and is customizable to each user's workflow.

OpenSpan (Alpharetta, Georgia), a developer of desktop productivity and SOA acceleration software, said it has partnered with Initiate Systems (Chicago), a provider of master data management (MDM) solutions and enterprise master person index software, to enhance interoperability for healthcare industry applications and data. Initiate Systems will use the OpenSpan Platform to extend the capabilities of the Initiate Enterprise Integrator Toolkit integration component, enabling healthcare organizations to more quickly and easily integrate health information exchange solutions.

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