A Medical Device Daily

CAD Sciences (White Plains, New York), a provider of computer assisted diagnosis (CAD) software, reported a collaborative effort with Sapheneia (Jackson, Mississippi) to develop a product for analyzing suspicious lesions in the lung combining Ultra-Low-Dose CT (ULDCT) technology with comprehensive contrast perfusion analysis.

CAD Sciences' Full-Time-Point (fTP) pharmacokinetic analysis software platform is used by radiologists to interpret and characterize lesions in the breast and prostate on MRI. Sapheneia's ULDCT technology permits lower-dose parameter acquisition of computed tomography (CT) images, while reducing patient exposure to radiation without the customary reduction in image quality, according to the companies. They said their collaboration heralds an important breakthrough in CAD by permitting robust pharmacokinetic analysis to be performed for the first time on CT without the excessive radiation dose required by current technology. The combined product will overcome the dual complication posed by the radiation component of CT, which limits image acquisition according to maximum acceptable dose parameters, and the conflicting need for image acquisition at multiple time points, which is a key ingredient to fTP technology.

“We believe that the combination of these two technologies will allow the complex dynamic contrast injection protocols, currently in use on MRI, to be used on CT,” said Andreas Muehler, MD, president of CAD Sciences. “Given that CT is much more versatile and common in many clinical radiology applications, our collaboration could lead to the development of new diagnostic capabilities in lung cancer and other areas.”

The application of CAD Sciences' fTP technology to lung nodule analysis will expand the tools available to the physician to noninvasively characterize lung nodules, potentially reducing the number of patients having to undergo invasive surgical procedures, the companies said.

The integrated ULDCT/fTP product is currently under development. A commercial-ready version of the product will ultimately reside on CAD Sciences' Server2 platform, which is attached to the radiology center's PACS network, as an optional module for which a customer may obtain a separate usage license.

In other agreement news:

• Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and Ingalls Health System (Harvey, Illinois) reported signing an agreement through which Siemens will provide Ingalls with a long-term information technology (IT) managed services solution. The solution encompasses the outsourcing of Ingalls' IT operations, the implementation of Soarian, Siemens' workflow-driven health information solution, and the establishment of a Workflow Innovation Center at Ingalls to facilitate the streamlining of clinical operations. The solution was developed in consultation with Siemens' Global Services organization.

Siemens will work with Ingalls to create operational and financial efficiencies, maximize its investment in IT resources, and achieve its strategic business objectives.

“The scope of our strategic agreement enables Ingalls to maximize Siemens' technologies and expertise to realize measurable process improvements that will benefit physicians, patients and the bottom line,” said Tom Miller, president, Healthcare IT Division, Siemens Medical Solutions. “Providing a full IT managed services solution ensures that Ingalls maintains industry-leading technology, while enabling Ingalls to focus on what they do best: provide quality patient care to their community.”

Ingalls Health System will implement the Soarian suite enterprise-wide, including clinical and financial applications. Soarian facilitates and tracks automated “workflows” designed to help users increase efficiency, improve patient safety, and achieve desired clinical and financial outcomes, Siemens said.

A component of the agreement between Ingalls and Siemens is the establishment of a Workflow Innovation Center, which will enable Ingalls to utilize Soarian's workflow engine to define and measure improvements of key performance indicators. The Workflow Innovation Center will be located on-site at Ingalls Memorial Hospital and staffed by employees of both Ingalls and Siemens.

Siemens also provides Ingalls diagnostic imaging technologies at its Family Care Centers in Flossmoor, Tinley Park, and Calumet City, Illinois, including CT, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography/computed tomography. Siemens Somatom Sensation 64 CT system will be installed at Ingalls.

• Dialog Medical , a provider of informed consent and patient education systems for hospitals and physician practices, reported that the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) has selected and will soon begin clinical utilization of its iMedConsent application to automate the informed consent process.

Enterprise-wide automation of this traditionally manual process is designed to ensure complete documentation of patient consent to a treatment or procedure.

“We believe that informed consent is the cornerstone of medical documentation,” said John Frenzel, MD, medical director of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center ambulatory surgery center. “The company worked with our EMR team to ensure that their consent application is available throughout our organization by leveraging our existing infrastructure and technology to deliver a comprehensive and cost effective solution.”

iMedConsent includes procedure-specific consent forms for more than two thousand medical and surgical procedures; patient education documents for thousands of diagnoses and treatments; and an extensive anatomical image gallery that allows the physician to annotate images and simplify complex topics for the patient. In addition, the application automates the completion of patient documentation ranging from HIPAA disclosures to advance directives, including the digital capture of signatures, paperless storage of signed documents and electronic notation in the patient's medical record.

• GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) has selected Fusion Sales Partners (Baltimore) as its exclusive sales partner for the new Senographe Essential Mammography System. The Senographe Essential, recently approved by FDA, is the next generation of GE's Senographe Full Field Digital Mammography systems.

“The new Senographe Essential Mammography System is the latest in a long line of industry firsts for GE Healthcare. With a 24 x 31 cm advanced digital detector, the Senographe Essential now offers the largest active field of view in the industry. We view this exceptional platform as a symbol of GE excellence, and entrusting its sales to Fusion Sales Partners is no trivial matter,” said Mike Howley, general manager Americas, X-Ray and Interventional Radiology, GE Healthcare. “Over the years, Fusion's high-powered sales teams have delivered impressive bottom line results for several GE product lines.”

Separately, GE Healthcare reported entering into an exclusive distribution agreement with DiscoveRx (Fremont, California) for all HitHunter cAMP Enzyme Fragment Complementation (EFC)-based assays, designed for high throughput, non-radioactive screening of compounds in drug discovery.

The agreement grants GE Healthcare global exclusivity for DiscoveRx's cAMP assays, and expands distribution of the company's portfolio of kinase assays, with exclusive distribution in the Asia Pacific region.

HitHunter cAMP assays are homogeneous, non-radioactive, cell-based assays used to screen for G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) activation in a microplate-based format. GPCRs represent a large class of membrane proteins that play an important role in cell signaling pathways and are important targets for drug discovery.

DiscoveRx is a privately held, venture-backed company focused on the use of beta-galactosidase enzyme fragment complementation in biochemical and cell based assays for discovery research.

• Novation (Irving, Texas) has signed an agreement that continues to make Eastman Kodak's (Rochester, New York) radiographic films, laser media, laser imagers and services available to more than 2,500 members of VHA (also Irving) and University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC; Oak Brook, Illinois).

Under a new three-year dual-source agreement, Novation will offer Kodak medical imaging products to VHA and UHC members that include hospitals, non-acute facilities, outpatient imaging centers and private physician offices. The agreement begins July 1, 2006, and is in effect through June 30, 2009. Additional details were not disclosed.