A Medical Device Daily

The Stanford University Program in Biodesign (Stanford, California) is partnering with the government of India to establish a new training program, called Stanford-India Biodesign , to help create the next generation of biomedical technology innovators in India.

Harry Greenberg, MD, senior associate dean for research at the Stanford University School of Medicine , described the partnership as a plan to meet the future needs of India’s medical technology industry, which is poised to grow dramatically.

The Indian government said it would allocate $4.8 million over the next five years to help fund the joint venture between Stanford and India’s department of biotechnology to train future medical device inventors and catalyze the expansion of the medical technology industry in India.

“By sharing our teaching methods with our Indian partners, we expect similar biodesign training programs to spring up around India, fueling the development of exciting new technologies within the next decade,” said Paul Yock, MD, director of Stanford’s Program in Biodesign. “We hope this will parallel the extraordinary growth of the medical technology industry in the Silicon Valley over the past 25 years.

“The global health marketplace for biomedical technology innovation is going to be important in a way that it never was before,” Yock said. “The best way for our students to train for this new era is to jump in and experience first-hand the process of innovation in a developing-world setting.”

The plan is to bring the Stanford program’s method of “teaching innovation” to Indian engineering, business and medical students through a two-year fellowship pilot project.

The fellowship will start with hands-on innovation training at Stanford and progress to immersion in health clinics and hospitals in India, where students will identify unmet medical needs specifically targeted for the Indian healthcare environment and create cost-effective solutions to meet those needs.

At the end of the program, the fellows will remain in India and lead the further development and testing of their solutions in a university program, start-up company or a new unit of an existing company.

While Stanford said its biodesign program “has successfully trained medical innovators with its unique methods of immersion in clinical settings and hands-on innovation for years,” the new partnership will emphasize the cost-effectiveness of the technology more than it has in the past.

“The purpose is to eventually help meet the medical needs of the people at the bottom of the economic pyramid in India,” said Balram Bhargava, MD, the India-based executive director of Stanford-India Biodesign and a professor of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi), one of two educational institutions involved in the first stage of the Stanford-India Biodesign initiative. The Indian Institute of Technology is the other.

“With a population over 1 billion, along with emerging medical and engineering fields and an exploding need for a stronger medical device industry, India is poised for explosive growth of its nascent medical technology industry,” said Raj Doshi, MD, PhD, a Stanford graduate in both engineering and medicine who has been named the U.S.-based executive director of Stanford-India Biodesign. “The potential in India is limitless. What’s needed is a catalyst. We are hoping the combined efforts of the three educational institutions will be this catalyst.”

Yock said a key benefit to Stanford will be the new emphasis on creating cost-effective technology. “Ninety percent of Indian citizens lack medical insurance and many live in rural areas without access to decent health care,” he said. “We think cost-effective technology has a really important role in bridging the gap to these underserved patients.”

Ethiopia contracts for Wyndgate software

Wyndgate Technologies (Denver) reported that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, on behalf of the Bella Military Referral Hospital (BMH; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), has entered into an agreement to use Wyndgate’s SafeTrace donor management software.

The agreement includes an option to purchase SafeTrace Tx, Wyndgate’s advanced transfusion management system.

Wyndgate said the PEPFAR advisors in Ethiopia enlisted the support of the U.S. Navy to help establish, furnish and initiate blood collection, testing and distribution operations for BMH. The Navy prioritized the list of needs to establish the blood bank at BMH and determined that, for blood safety purposes, a management information system for the blood donor center was a top priority.

The company said the Navy selected SafeTrace based on the strength of Wyndgate’s product and service reputation among its customers, its proven capability to deliver solutions in Africa and its ability to implement the product using an application service provider (ASP) model.

According to the company, an ongoing challenge for Ethiopia is the expense and resource requirements to host a comprehensive and sophisticated donor management system, making the ASP solution an attractive alternative. The company said the Navy appreciated that Wyndgate already has implementation, education and support staff based in sub-Saharan Africa.

SafeTrace will be installed using ASP services through a secured Internet connection. The model will provide blood-bank staff access to donor records without the use of costly in-house servers, minimizing the need for the purchase of computer hardware, the management of software or hiring of additional personnel. Wyndgate is a subsidiary of e-Health medical information technology company Global Med Technologies (El Dorado Hills, California).

MedAire in accord with Singapore firm

MedAire (Tempe, Arizona) said it has entered into a sales agency agreement with Aviation Assistance Services (Singapore), a subsidiary of International SOS , which it termed the world’s leading provider of medical assistance services, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care. International SOS and its affiliates hold a controlling interest in MedAire.

Aviation Assistance Services is a newly-formed company that will serve as an exclusive sales agent for MedAire products and services, including air-to-ground telemedicine expertise, aviation medical equipment and medical education for crewmembers.

Initially, Aviation Assistance Services will deliver commercial aviation medical solutions in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions — territories where MedAire does not currently have a strong market share.

“This partnership is a milestone in MedAire’s evolution to becoming a trusted advisor to its aviation clients who rely on the company to provide remote medical solutions globally,” said founder and chairman Joan Sullivan Garrett.

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