A Medical Device Daily

The UK plans to speed up implementation of the electronic patient record within the National Health Service (NHS).

Health Minister Lord Warner said during a recent speaking engagement before the British Medical Association's Local Medical Committee Conference, “We cannot carry on with the cumbersome, outdated and I would say sometimes dangerous paper-based system. It's critical we make the transition to electronic records, and the sooner the better for patients and doctors alike.”

He cited a number of initiatives to gear up progress on the electronic patient record – known as the NHS Care Records Service.

The first will involve setting a date in early 2007 to begin pilots for the uploading of patient information onto the summary care record. This will enable the transfer of patient records when people change doctors.

Another initiative is the establishment of a new task force to develop a detailed implementation plan for speeding up delivery of the electronic medical record. It will be chaired by a layperson and involve a cross-section of clinical representatives.

Charged with producing a detailed action plan by the end of this year, the task force also will be asked to draw on the work already done in this area by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the U.S. The VA healthcare system already has a fully operational electronic patient record system.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Martin Marshall will be involved with the task force and, working with the current National Clinical Leads, will take on a fuller role in assisting with clinical engagement on introducing an electronic patient record.

Warner also announced the development of a public information campaign to explain the patient benefits and implications of moving to electronic patient records.

“I understand fully the concerns and reservations some doctors have about electronic patient records,” he said at the BMA conference. “We will fully consult with all professional interests and patients on the nature of the summary record and the confidentiality safeguards. But now is the time for leadership in this area and by that I mean clinical leadership as well.”

New guidelines on PillCam endoscopy

Given Imaging (Yokneam, Israel) said that physicians at the International Conference on Capsule Endoscopy (ICCE), held earlier this month in Paris, revised consensus guidelines for PillCam capsule endoscopy use based on the growing body of data presented at the conference.

This year's conference highlighted more than 80 abstracts, of which 19 were accepted for oral presentation. More than 300 physicians participated in the meeting.

“ICCE Paris is an opportunity for European physicians to share the latest information about new and expanded indications for capsule endoscopy. There were several large studies which validated earlier findings about the impact of capsule endoscopy on clinical outcomes, in identifying small-bowel tumors and in definitely detecting Crohn's disease,” said Roberto De Franchis, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Milan (Milan, Italy) and co-chairman of the conference.

Three posters were selected for presentation during a plenary session:

Researchers at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital (Paris) examined the diagnostic yield of capsule endoscopy in detecting lesions outside of the small intestine that are missed by traditional endoscopy. They identified a cause of bleeding outside of the small intestine in 26 patients, or 7% of cases. Lesions were found in the stomach, proximal duodenum and cecum.

A team of researchers at the Martin-Luther University Hospitals and Clinics in Germany, conducted a 22-patient study comparing the comfort of capsule endoscopy in diagnosing small bowel to MRI and enteroclysis. Patient comfort was graded in a questionnaire on a scale of 0 for no stress at all to 10 for unbearable stress for each imaging method. The mean stress grade for capsule endoscopy was 1.1, significantly less than stress associated with MRI (4.4) and enteroclysis (5.6).

Physicians from the Digestive Endoscopy Unit at Catholic University (Rome) evaluated the feasibility and safety of non-assisted capsule endoscopy in 11 patients who previously had undergone stomach surgery. In nine of the 11 patients, the capsule passed into the small bowel directly as confirmed by fluoroscopy. In two other patients, endoscopy assisted positioning of the capsule was necessary. Researchers concluded that capsule endoscopy is safe and feasible in patients who have undergone gastro-duodenal surgery.

MSI eyes CE-mark certification

Medical Services International (MSI; Edmonton, Alberta) said it has completed the necessary documentation to apply for CE-mark certification of its VScan HIV test kits in Europe.

As reported earlier, MSI has agreed to a proposal from a European pharmaceutical company whereby they would pay the costs necessary, look after the submission of all data and complete any and all other procedures required to obtain certification of the VScan HIV test kit.

The European firm has now received all required documentation from Medical Services and has indicated that the application will be submitted to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible, MSI said.

Certification of the VScan HIV test kit would allow the VScan HIV test kit to be sold in an additional 25 countries and should result in additional sales of up to $4 million per year, according to MSI.

“Preliminary marketing in several of these countries shows that there is significant demand for an HIV test kit that is accurate and easy to use using whole blood,” said MSI. “Testing throughout the world by health departments continues to show that the VScan HIV test kit fits this criteria.”

Gambro will apply for de-listing

Indap AB, which controls 98.5% of all shares in Gambro (Stockholm, Sweden), has requested redemption of all remaining shares in the company. The procedure will be initiated promptly.

As a consequence of the requested redemption, the board of Gambro will apply to the Stockholm Stock Exchange for de-listing of the company's shares.

Gambro is a global medical technology company with related services and has leading positions in renal care services and products and blood component technology.

Gambro Renal Products develops and supplies hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and acute renal and liver dialysis products, therapies and services. Gambro Healthcare is a provider of end-stage renal disease treatment and patient care. Gambro BCT develops and provides blood collection, apheresis and cell therapy products and services.